California has the nation’s highest prices for gasoline and diesel fuels, coming in as high as $5.57 per gallon of gas, according to AAA. The cost of a tank of gas for a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 24.6 gallon tank is a whopping $137.
In this AAA interactive map, California’s gas prices range from a low in Butte County of $4.43 per gallon, to a high in Mono County of $5.57 per gallon.
The American Petroleum Institute reports on all 50 states and the breakdown of these prices and taxes: a state’s excise tax, sales tax and other local, state, and federal taxes. In total, Californians pay 86.55 cents per gallon in gas taxes, and 124.31 in total diesel taxes.
The next closest state with taxes as high as California’s is Illinois, with 78.00 cents per gallon in taxes, and 91.42 in total diesel taxes.
Florida has very low state excise tax at 4.00, but greater “other state taxes” in the mix. However, Florida’s overall gas/diesel tax was much better than California’s at 61.95, and 60.77 diesel tax.
State Excise Tax: 51.10
Other State Taxes/Fees: 17.05
Total State Taxes/Fees: 68.15
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 86.55
State Excise Tax: 38.90
Other State Taxes/Fees: 61.01
Total State Taxes/Fees: : 99.91
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 124.31
CA Notes: The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration has set the gasoline excise tax rate at 51.1 cpg and the diesel excise tax rate at 38.9 cpg as of 7/1/21. The sales tax on gasoline is 2.25% plus applicable district taxes for gasoline and 13.00% for diesel. Sales tax rates applied are a weighted average based on county population. Other fees include the Underground Storage Tank (UST) fee which is 2.0 cpg.
State Excise Tax: 4.00
Other State Taxes/Fees: 39.55
Total State Taxes/Fees: 43.55
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 61.95
State Excise Tax: 4.00
Other State Taxes/Fees: 32.37
Total State Taxes/Fees: : 36.37
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 60.77
FL notes: Other Taxes” column includes the state sales tax (14.5 cpg) which is indexed to the CPIN the average county option taxes; Inspection Fee (0.125 cpg); 9th-cent tax (up to 1.0 cpg); Local Option Tax (up to 6.0 cpg); Additional Local Option (up to 5.0 cpg); and, the SCETS (up to 8.3 cpg) along with the various state environmental import taxes which total 2.071 cpg. The gasoline total for Other Taxes and Fees represent a weighted average for Florida by county. The actual amount will depend on county where fuel is purchased.
State Excise Tax: 39.20
Other State Taxes/Fees: 20.40
Total State Taxes/Fees: 59.60
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 78.00
State Excise Tax: 46.70
Other State Taxes/Fees: 20.32
Total State Taxes/Fees: : 67.02
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 91.42
IL Notes: On 7/1/21 the state of Illinois raised its gas tax to 39.2 cpg and its diesel tax to 46.7 cpg. It also passed a provision to automatically raise the tax every July 1st by the rate of inflation recorded in March of that year, and not to exceed 1 cent. “Other Taxes” includes an Underground Storage Tank rate of .3 cpg and an Environmental Impact Fee rate of 0.8 cpg. Illinois exempts E85 and diesel blends of more than 10% biodiesel from sales taxes. The 20% sales tax exemption on E10 is no longer in effect. Other Taxes also includes a 1.1 cpg tax for underground storage tank fund, and other local sales and gasoline taxes. The state-wide sales tax is 6.25%, with some local sales taxes making it as high as 10%. Cook County collects 6 cpg, and Chicago 8 cpg which was raised by cpg under the 2021 budget. DuPage, Kane, Lake, and McHenry Counties impose a 4 cpg tax. Under the 7/1/19 tax increase these three counties, as well as the newly added counties of Lake and Will, are permitted to raise their county gas taxes to 8 cpg if needed. Any city of over 100,000 can also impose a tax of 1 cpg by referendum.
Arkansas came in with the lowest gas/diesel tax in the nation, with 33.53 cents per gallon in gas taxes, and 39.38 in diesel taxes:
State Excise Tax: 8.95
Other State Taxes/Fees: 6.18
Total State Taxes/Fees: 15.13
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 33.53
State Excise Tax: 8.95
Other State Taxes/Fees: 6.03
Total State Taxes/Fees: : 14.98
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 39.38
U.S. Average Gasoline:
State Excise Tax: 26.16
Other State Taxes/Fees: 12.53
Total State Taxes/Fees: 38.69
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 57.09
U.S. Average Diesel:
State Excise Tax: 26.72
Other State Taxes/Fees: 13.52
Total State Taxes/Fees: : 40.24
Total State plus Federal Excise Tax: 64.64
U.S. Notes: Represents volume-weighted average
California’s gas excise tax rate is adjusted for inflation and rises incrementally each year, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
Why are California’s gas costs so high? “Under state law, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration is ‘required to adjust the motor vehicle fuel and diesel fuel excise tax rates on July 1, 2020, and every July 1 thereafter, by the percentage change in the California Consumer Price Index, as calculated by the Department of Finance,’” according to Wayne Winegarden with the Pacific Research Institute.
Winegarden said “Californians could save big on their energy bills if lawmakers embraced free-market energy policies. At the same time, the state would continue to make significant progress in lowering emissions,” as well as “reforming or replacing unrealistic energy mandates that are driving up the price of gasoline in California.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week he would pause the annual gas tax increase, which is not a tax cut, after pressure from several lawmakers, given the state’s “budget surplus.” This would keep the excise tax rate at 51.1 cents per gallon into next year. But it’s still the highest in the country.
The fact that there is a significant budget surplus in California is the clearest evidence that Californians are overtaxed. There needs to be permanent tax relief. It’s not Sacramento’s money, it’s your money. You should keep more of it. #california #InsideCAPolitics pic.twitter.com/cnMuJSKzd8
— Vince Fong (@vfong) January 16, 2022
“It’s a $523 million gas tax holiday of sorts,” Newsom said. It’s hardly a gas tax holiday when it costs most Californians more than $100 to fill the tank.