California Legislators Want Investigation of ‘Mystery’ Gasoline Tax

‘When Californians are spending an extra $3-5 billion per year on gas, $1 million on an investigation is money well spent…’

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(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Almost two dozen California legislators are calling for the state’s attorney general to investigate a mysterious 24-cent gasoline surcharge.

According to KSBY News, the surcharge was hypothesized in a report published by Prof. Severin Borenstein and based on the findings of the Petroleum Market Advisory Committee.

As a result, it’s estimated that Californians may have overpaid billions of dollars for gas for nearly four years.

GasBuddy.com reported that the Golden State has the highest gas prices in the country—which is what led PMAC to find out why.

The American Automobile Association said that, on average, Americans pay $2.25 for gas. But Californians pay an average of $3.24, almost a dollar more.

Some blamed the legislature for the pain at the pump because of stringent environmental regulations.

“Our air-pollution requirements drive up our gasoline prices,” said Ken Dewar, a fuel distributor in the town of San Luis Obispo.

Even so, those fees don’t fully account for the hike, however.

“We now face a much more expensive gasoline in California that can’t be just explained by our higher taxes and environmental programs,” Borenstein said.

Borenstein, of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, said he noticed a spike in state gasoline prices following a refinery explosion in the state back in 2015. Since then, prices haven’t declined significantly.

In their letter to Attorney General Xavier Becerra, lawmakers made it clear that they’re not saying that anything criminal occurred.

But they want an investigation anyway.

Said Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer–Kahan, D-East Bay: “We really want to see the attorney general’s office to investigate this surcharge, get to the bottom of what is causing and hopefully find a solution.”

Borenstein said he thinks it’s a wise decision. After all, what’s another million dollars from taxpayers?

“When Californians are spending an extra $3-5 billion per year on gas, $1 million on an investigation is money well spent,” he said.