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Old gas pump at 'The Station, Los Alamos, CA. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

California’s Highest-in-the-Nation Gas and Diesel Taxes

It costs Californians more than $100 to fill the tank

By Katy Grimes, January 24, 2022 8:36 am

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.

California Gasoline:

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

California Diesel:

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.

Florida Gasoline:

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

Florida Diesel:

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.

Illinois Gasoline:

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

Illinois Diesel:

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:

Arkansas Gasoline:

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

Arkansas Diesel:

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.

“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.

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4 thoughts on “California’s Highest-in-the-Nation Gas and Diesel Taxes

  1. Gee, that’s really big of Newsom to NOT RAISE the gas excise tax this year and imply it’s a cut and “tax holiday” for CA consumers. What a jerk. Wait till the group he supposedly “champions” who simply cannot afford this crap gets a load of his B.S. And there is no chance they won’t find out when it is staring them straight in the face every time they unavoidably have to fill up. Does this governor really really think this kind of crap is going to win friends and influence people? It seems he has finally lost his mind completely. There are certainly other indicators of it; for instance his nonsense talk at the third world Union Pacific train tracks photo op. Wow.

  2. “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” – Vladimir Lenin

  3. The 2005 Graduate of the World Economic Forum’s “Young Leaders” has spoken….

    And another policy to drive people to either flee the state, or be ground down by the high cost of living here and be more amenable to Herr Schwab’s “Great Reset” and Agenda 2030 plan….

  4. I’m looking at Vespa scooter! Or is it Murder-Scooter?

    Being in Bakersfield, I marvel at the seriously poor whom manage to drive junkers having NO Tags, four different tire sizes, five kids, cigarettes dangling from their mouths, coming out with complete crap nickel food putting in $5.28 a gallon Shell gasoline!

    NO JOB!

    As evidenced by barefooted filth ridden body having no contact with soap or water for millennia.

    Home of Buck Owns and Billy Ray and the Soggy Bottom dungbee gang! Teeth Optional!

    Yeee-Haaa!

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