|Let's enjoy these gas prices|
before they tax it
A survey recently conducted by Consumers Union found that Californians overwhelmingly support requiring oil companies to produce cleaner fuels (81 percent). The survey also found that consumers believe requiring cleaner fuels would result in more consumer choices (82 percent), and that oil companies should use their vast profits to pay for any costs to clean up consumer fuels (84 percent).After months of seeing gas prices sink ever lower, Californians will ring in 2015 by paying more at the pump as a result of the state's landmark greenhouse-gas emissions law.But how much more we'll pay, and whether it's worth it, remains bitterly debated among oil companies, some state lawmakers and environmentalists.Starting Thursday, gasoline and diesel producers will be subject to the state's cap-and-trade system, forcing them either to supply lower-carbon fuels -- which are more expensive to produce -- or to buy pollution permits for the greenhouse gases created when the fuel is burned. In the short term, at least, that will mean higher prices at the pump.groups backed by the oil industry have claimed prices will rise 16 to 76 cents per gallon, although that's admittedly based on an underlying price of about $4 per gallon -- far higher than recent prices. On Monday, drivers in the East and South Bay were paying about $2.68 per gallon for regular gas, according to the American Automobile Association.A couple months ago, consumers and anti-tax advocates were in a frenzy, fretting that new rules taking effect Jan. 1 would cause a $0.15 to $0.75 spike in prices at the pump. Meanwhile, plunging oil values have flipped California gas station marquee digits down $0.31 in the past month, according to data from AAA. An environmental bill long championed by the Obama administration and environmental groups was quietly signed into law this week. The bill, initially expected to fail, was bolstered by last-minute support from a group of moderate Republicans seeking reelection in predominantly Democratic leaning states. The bill strengthens environmental pollution penalties, emission standards and creates a surprising new three dollar a gallon tax increase on gasoline.When gas prices go up, motorists typically blame oil companies, Arab sheiks and Wall Street speculators. This time they can blame Sacramento and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for passing a bill requiring California to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
NOTES AND COMMENTS:
***"a. A tax credit for individuals and companies who invest in Hybird, Fusion and Electric cars. Make it a no brainier to get one of these vehicles.