The record-high gas costs in San Diego County are taking a toll on drivers’ wallets like never before. However, two county supervisors have presented a plan that they believe would alleviate some financial strain.
Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond co-authored a letter to fellow Board of Supervisors members on Monday urging them to support a one-year suspension of California’s 51-cent-per-gallon gas tax.
The plan comes as gas prices continue to rise across the United States, notably in San Diego County, where the average price of a gallon of normal unleaded petrol has surpassed its record 18 times in the last 20 days.
“This is not a party issue,” Desmond, the District 5 representative, stated. “This is affecting everyone, regardless of whatever side of the aisle they are on.”
Generally, the gas excise tax defrays transportation expenditures such as road upkeep and repair. Since 2017, that cost has been slowly increasing owing to the passing of Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown as a method for funding the state highway system and local street and road systems.
Desmond and Anderson’s combined plan would suspend the levy indefinitely, with Desmond noting the state’s considerable fiscal surplus.
“The state has a $45 billion surplus of our money,” Desmond explained. “The cost of a one-year respite is around $6 billion.”
According to AAA, gas prices in the United States reached their highest level since 2008 on Sunday.
Alan Gin, an economics professor at the University of San Diego, told FOX 5 that rising costs result from the Ukraine crisis. He said it is part of a “great deal of uncertainty” that is “roiling the international oil markets” and driving up prices.
With the county’s average price for normal unleaded petrol hitting $5.383 on Monday — and reports from Southern California indicating that at least one station is approaching $7 per gallon — Desmond said his idea would provide much-needed relief to drivers.
Anderson, who represents Area 2, told FOX 5 that “people in my district are hurting from these high gas costs.” That is why I was happy to collaborate with Supervisor Desmond on this board letter.”
The board will submit the proposal to Gov. Gavin Newsom if most supervisors approve. And if the tax were eliminated, the effect would almost certainly feel the effect throughout the state.
The proposal will be voted on at the board’s next meeting on March 15 at 9 a.m.