Well, it would be – if we were just paying for gas.
But it’s artificially more expensive because of the taxes – and regulatory costs – tacked on to the cost of each gallon.
The taxes are disproportionate (nationally, they account for about 50 cents of the cost per gallon, which works out to a tax rate of appx. 25 percent or 2-3 times the ordinary sales tax in most states) as well as hugely regressive (most of us have to buy gas – unlike meals out – and the tax hits the poor and working class the hardest) and arguably punitive – designed purposely to discourage driving by making driving ever-more-expensive.
But wait – there’s more.
In California, a prequel of sorts is being rolled out that could go national – if it’s not stopped dead in it tracks (which hopefully it will be). An unelected and so largely dictatorial regulatory body vested with open-ended powers called the Air Resources Board (CARB) has been using its authority to jack up gas prices via “carbon credits” (that’s Algorean for taxes) that transfer money from the pockets of California drivers to “clean” and “green” government-approved projects such as mass transit, bicycle lanes and – of course – electrified boondoggles such as Tesla.
The California Legislative Analyst’s Office figures the add-on cost of these “green” fees will amount to 20-50 cents per gallon in total by 2020. This is on top of California’s already highest-in-the-country taxes on motor fuels. As of late May, a gallon of regular unleaded in the Golden State had risen to nearly $4 ($3.807 to be precise, according to the California Energy Commission; see here) vs. about $2.40 on average nationally.
During the final week of May, the price of regular unleaded in CA rose by 7.5 cents per gallon – and summer’s just begun.
CARB’s “green fees” are a principal driver. But adding to the problem (via anticipation) are additional taxes (actually called taxes this time) on oil extraction being proposed and pushed by Democrats (chiefly) who in turn are being funded and egged on by billionaire “environmental activist” Tom Steyer – for whom of course paying even $10 a gallon for gas is a small price to pay in the name of saving of the planet. Steyer made his billions managing hedge funds – which, it’s worth mentioning, are not subject to the sort of regulatory oversight he now favors for the little people. And many of the “investments” he was involved in – and got rich via – involved (surprise!) oil and gas exploration projects, including tar sands extraction and fracking.
Now that he’s got his – he doesn’t want you to get yours.
The oil extraction tax is also deliberately punitive – meant to discourage the production of oil in CA and thereby, limit the amount of gas that will be available not only in CA – and make whatever gas is available more costly. Which will discourage driving – that is, the use of private cars by ordinary people.
But billionaires such as Steyer – and Elon Musk and (of course) Al Gore (who is merely a multi-millionaire) will not be affected. Just as Dear Leader – whether it’s Obama or his successor – will continue to be chauffeured in the 4 MPG “beast” (the presidential armored limo).
It’s not driving per se that’s being targeted. It’s the you and me driving that’s being targeted.
But hey – I don’t live in California. Why worry?
Because what starts in California has a way of ending up as national policy.
CARB’s edicts, for example, affect the price of every new car sold in America – not just in California – because California is the nation’s biggest car market and it’s too expensive and inefficient for the car companies to build California-acceptable cars and then “49 state” acceptable cars. Hence, all new cars – whether destined for a dealership lot in Sacramento or one in Bangor, Maine are CARB-approved and compliant.
These “green” taxes being Beta tested in CA will also likely spread to other states and perhaps nationally. “Carbon credits” are already being “exchanged” (that is, money being transferred from you pockets to the pockets of others) in several states.
It is only a matter of time and political maneuvering before unacceptably low gas prices (unacceptable to crony capitalist billionaires, that is) rise even higher than the “greenhouse gasses” they purport to combat.
If Al Gore drove a 45 MPG subcompact economy car instead of a 15 MPG V8 Cadillac Escalade – and billionaires like Steyer and Musk did not have “carbon footprints” several times the size of bigfoot’s (how much coal-fired electricity is burned up keeping the lights on at Steyer’s multiple homes and 2,000 acre ranch?) it would not be so easy to question their motives – and suspect their integrity.
It’s curious they became “green” once they themselves were literally rolling in it.
And now, they want to lock the gates to their McMansions and – echoing Marie Antoinette – let the masses eat cake.
And walk to work.
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