California repeatedly warned about spiking gas prices, fragile supply. But fixes never came.
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When gas prices spiked last winter, it was California that warned about them. But after seeing them climb above $4 a gallon, gas companies responded by passing on the cost to consumers by raising prices and making it hard to buy fuel outside of the state’s cap-and-trade program.
In early May, when gas prices were above $3 a gallon, Gov. Jerry Brown stood on the balcony of the governor’s office in Sacramento to announce that the state was considering price gouging, an illegal practice that Californians could be sued for.
But when gas prices were a few dollars less, companies again found ways to dodge the cost by not passing on the extra costs to consumers.
California is now on track to have its highest gas prices in more than three decades, and some experts believe they may be on the verge of a price spike of their own.
The governor’s plan to tax gasoline at 15 percent was meant to reduce carbon emissions and generate revenue to fund road and transit repairs. But the state is running out of money to fund such repairs.
Meanwhile, some economists believe the state should increase taxes on some sources of energy in order to fund the state’s high-priced, inefficient energy infrastructure. Others argue that the state needs to let businesses use renewable electricity from the sun or wind while continuing to tax gas and gasoline.
Here is what you need to know about California’s gas price spike:
1. The governor’s plan failed
When California was experiencing its highest gas prices in decades in early April, Brown spoke to the media about a plan to raise gas taxes (which would have increased the price of gas in the state by $2 or $3 per gallon).
“We have to be prepared in case a major earthquake or fire wipes out the entire state,” Brown said in early April. “Gas prices in the state is way too high right now for people to wait to fill up. I proposed a gas tax that would bring more money in for needed services.”
But the governor’s plan backfired. The state is now on track to have its highest gas prices since 2006, and some