With California gas prices again ticking upward, Republican lawmakers have written a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, urging him to call a special session of the Legislature in order to suspend the state’s gas tax.
“Gas prices are once again soaring, and Californians are paying $2 more per gallon than the rest of the country. Drivers are spending more than $100 each month just on gas. This elevated energy cost cuts into family’s already strained budgets,” the letter, signed by every Republican state lawmaker, begins.
GOP lawmakers want Newsom to call a special session to temporarily suspend the state’s 58-cent-per-gallon tax on fuel.
“Immediate relief is needed. California is an energy island with isolated resources which makes our state reliant on foreign imports if more domestic production is not allowed,” the letter continues.
Last year, Newsom declared that there would be a special session to get to the bottom of the state’s high gas prices, and to explore the possibility of a tax on oil company windfall profits. That bill passed and was signed into law last March.
Part of that bill established a Division of Petroleum Market Oversight, which earlier this month released a report attributing rising gas prices to Russia’s war on Ukraine, a decrease in California-produced oil supply due to refinery outages and maintenance, and a gasoline market transaction that resulted in a 50-cent spike.
“With prices again near record highs, Californians are rightfully upset as current policies are not working,” the letter reads.
The letter is unlikely to achieve it’s goal. Legislative Republicans have tried, unsuccessfully, on several occasions to force a vote on suspending the gas tax. Each time, the Democratic supermajority squashed the effort.
Newsom on Wednesday evening directed the California Energy Commission to evaluate a potential gas price gouging penalty and asked the Division of Petroleum Market Oversight to provide proposals on market reforms by the beginning of 2024.
“Oil companies are ripping you off, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. Big Oil can’t hide anymore,” Newsom said in a statement provided to The Bee.
This story was initially revealed September 28, 2023, 11:39 AM.