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SACRAMENTO- Today, Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) introduced legislation to increase gasoline price transparency. Assembly Bill (AB) 2066 would require gas stations to post the estimated cost per gallon of the state’s Cap and Trade Program, where they are already required under current law to display federal and state fuel taxes.
In 2015, California became the first state in the country to require gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers to purchase emission credits under the Air Resources Board’s Cap and Trade Program. Estimates by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office have concluded that this will likely add 13 to 20 cents per gallon to prices by 2020, while a February meeting of the California Energy Commission estimated it increases current prices by approximately 10 cents. However, while federal and state gas tax amounts are readily identified at fueling locations, the specific cost of the state’s Cap and Trade Program on the price of a gallon of gas is not.
“Every day, nearly 100,000 people leave my community in the Antelope Valley to commute long distances to work in Los Angeles. These families are forced to spend large amounts of their monthly budgets on gas,” said Assemblyman Lackey. “Californians deserve to have more transparency about why they pay higher prices than drivers from other states.”
As global oil prices have plummeted, California drivers are still experiencing higher-than-average gas prices. According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, California’s average price is the second most expensive in the nation at $2.38 per gallon—nearly 70 cents higher than the national average. Fuel refinery problems have been cited as a possible reason for stubbornly high prices. However, without more information on the costs added by the Cap and Trade Program, consumers are left even more in the dark.
“We strongly value transparency for our customers, and providing this information on government-imposed costs at fueling locations is critical for ensuring their understanding of fuel pricing,” said Jay McKeeman, VP of Government Relations from the California Independent Oil Marketers Association.
AB 2066 would provide clarity on the costs of Cap and Trade by also requiring the California Energy Commission to calculate average costs per gallon using the latest auction prices for carbon credits. This will lead to an accurate estimate of what drivers are paying.
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