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You might be shocked to find out what taxes and fees are added to the price of gas in California

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Erik McLean
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More than $1.20 of each gallon of gas sold in California goes to taxes and fees.

You're paying about $1.28 in taxes and fees per gallon of gas in California, contributing to the highest average price in the nation. KCLU breaks it down.

Going to a gas station on the Central and South Coasts seems to become an increasingly expensive proposition, with prices rising this week on virtually a daily basis.

Nikki Sundee is filling the gas tank of her small pickup truck at a Newbury Park gas station.

"It's crazy. It's crazy. I'm liking shopping around now for gas," said Sundee.

The Thousand Oaks woman says she doesn’t have a choice, she’s a carpenter, and frequently travels to the Santa Barbara area for work.

In his State of the State Address, Governor Gavin Newsom promised some relief.

When you buy a gallon of gas, it includes an 18 cents a gallon federal excise tax, and a state excise tax of around 51 cents a gallon. Most people know about those two taxes. But, what most people don’t realize is that’s just scratching the surface of the charges you pay for each gallon of gas.

"There's about a half a dozen of em," said David Hackett. He's Chairman of Stillwater Associates, an Orange County based consulting firm which works in the transportation fuels field. He says there’s a myriad of other charges.

"On top of the excise tax, there's there's a sales tax that these days is about 15 cents. There's a underground storage tank fee of two cents. There are a couple of greenhouse gas reduction fees...cap and trade cost is about 23 cents," said Hackett. "And, the other greenhouse gas reduction program...that's about 19 cents."

So, while the state and federal excise taxes are about 69 cents combined, all of the other taxes and fees take you to a per gallon total of about $1.28.

Hackett says when the governor talks about easing the pain at the gas pump, it’s hard to tell what he has in mind, whether it's cutting taxes, or suspending fees, or a combination.

While tax or fee cuts might help a little, the transportation fuel consultant thinks higher prices aren’t going away anytime soon. He says it's hard to gauge the impacts of the Ukrainian crisis. But, aside from that, Hackett says the Biden Administration has made it clear it wants to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by limiting the development of fossil fuel production and infrastructure.

He notes that California imports about 70% of the oil it uses every day, and increasing global demand will keep prices higher that we’ve had in the recent past.

Back at the gas station in Newbury Park, Bridget Adelman is starting to put gas in the tank of her SUV. The Newbury Park woman puts in three-quarters of a tank of gas in her SUV. For what it cost, she and her husband could have gone to dinner. The total was $69.82.

"It's ridiculous. My husband just filled up his car, and it was a hundred dollars," said Adelman.

And, while some people have the option of driving less, it’s a necessity for some to get to work. Nikki Sundee, who you met at the beginning of this article, says her answer is a simple one, but not a pleasant one.

"I got to work more hours...work more hours. What can you do?"