Gas prices to increase

If you’ve been to the gas station today, you may notice a sudden price increase at the pump.

On Nov. 1, a 12 cent per gallon tax increase will be added to fuel costs, California drivers pay a total of 69 cents per gallon in both state and federal taxes, making the it one of the most expensive states in the country to fill up, trailing Pennsylvania.

Although prices at the pump will rise within days of the tax increase, several customers may see a slight increase.

That’s because Nov. 1 is the day when California retailers can switch from summer to winter gasoline. The winter blend is cheaper to make, and historically, pump prices have dropped around this day, said Michael Blasky, a spokesperson for AAA Northern California.

At most stations, “you will see a 3- to 5-cent increase next week” in gasoline prices, Blasky predicts. “After that, it’s hard to say” because gasoline prices fluctuate constantly based on the price of oil, competition, and other factors.

The switch from summer to winter blend does not affect diesel fuel. It’s basically the same mix year-round.

The tax increases were part of a bill, SB1, approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in April. It also will increase vehicle license fees starting Jan. 1 and impose a new $100 annual vehicle registration fee on zero-emission vehicles starting with the model year 2020.

The bill is expected to raise about $5 billion a year to fund state and local transportation projects ranging from fixing potholes to promoting bicycling to reducing congestion on major highways. Several Republicans and anti-tax groups are trying to overturn the increases. One proposal would require any increase in car, gasoline or fuel taxes to be approved by voters, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.