Effort underway to delay what some call 'hidden gas tax' in California

Price of gas could increase 76 cents next year

SAN DIEGO - Right now, San Diegans are paying an average of $3.89 per gallon of gas. But starting Jan. 1, that could increase from $0.15 to $0.76, pushing it to $4.65 a gallon.

The news that the price of gas could go up next year does not sit well with many San Diegans.

"76 cents … 'cause even me, I make OK money and I'm always struggling check to check," said Joe Secola of City Heights.

Californians already pay the second highest amount for gas in the nation, behind Hawaii.

"It's just more money taken from us working people, and it's just insane … it's just crazy, bro," said Roberto Escudero of City Heights.

Here is an example of how much this could hit your wallet. A 2010 Honda Civic can hold 13 gallons of gas. At $4 a gallon, it would cost $52 to fill up. With the tax increase of 76 cents, you would shell out about $62 bucks at the pump.

It is all due to a 2006 California State Assembly bill requiring the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020. That means starting Jan. 1, oil refineries must pay for the right to release carbon and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

"I think we've met a clear air standard already," said Assemblyman Brian Jones.

He supports a bill to delay the tax up to three years. Jones tells 10News this will hurt families and businesses may want to relocate.

"They're going to have to consider moving parts of all of their operations to lower-cost states," said Jones.

Weber Logistics has been in San Diego since 1924. They purchase half a million gallons of gas each year.

"If the tax is 75 cents a gallon, that will add $375,000 in costs to us," said Harry Drajpuch, who is with Weber Logistics.

And that means potential jobs.

"It's the equivalent of 10 to 12 jobs in our company," said Weber.

Lawmakers 10News spoke with say the bill is intended to be a fee on the oil companies and the oil industry will pass that on to the consumers.

The bill to stop the tax is now in the Senate for review.

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