Average San Diego County gas price records largest daily increase since 2019
There's a growing chorus of voices from various sides of the political spectrum calling for the state gas tax to be suspended.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County recorded its largest increase since Sept. 28, 2019, Thursday, rising 8 cents to $4.975, its 14th record in 16 days.
The average price has risen 28 of the past 31 days, increasing 35.1 cents, including 3.4 cents Wednesday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
The average price is 19.2 cents more than one week ago, 31.9 cents higher than one month ago and $1.232 greater than one year ago.
Calls are now coming from across the political spectrum to suspend the 51-cent a gallon state gas tax. On Thursday, civil rights advocate Shane Harris, the President of People's Association of Justice Advocates called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency, which would allow him to suspend the tax for up to 90 days.
Harris said though everyone who buys gasoline pays the tax, it hurts minorities and economically challenged people the worst.
“It’s about those everyday people that I’m thinking about who will struggle every time they go to the pump," Harris told KPBS.
Earlier this year, Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who represents the suburbs west of Sacramento, introduced a bill to suspend the tax for six months. Kiley told KPBS he'd like to see the state gas tax eliminated altogether, but barring that, he said it's urgent to help California drivers now.
“Especially since the governor is talking about a $60 billion surplus supposedly, the least we could do is give Californians just temporarily, although I’d like to see it more permanent, at least for six months, some relief," said Kiley.
University of San Diego economist Alan Gin also cited the state's multi-billion-dollar surplus in supporting a suspension of the tax.
“The money raised from the gas tax is normally used to fund infrastructure type of programs. But again, with the state running such a huge surplus, I could see that some of that surplus can be directed to replacing the gas tax funds themselves," Gin said.
Even if the tax is suspended, current estimates say we could easily see hikes of between $0.50 to $0.75 in the coming weeks, gobbling up any tax suspension savings, putting us right back in the unenviable position we’re in now.
The rising gas prices have state leaders and others searching for ways to limit their impacts on the economy. But it also brings up questions about San Diego’s reliance on gas-driven cars and climate change. Plus, a new study shows that San Diego’s existing climate action measures won’t put the city on track to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2035.