10-year, $52 billion gas tax coming to San Diego


Sally Poppe, right, demonstrates filling her car at the hydrogen fuel station on Oct. 21, 2014 at Hydrogen Frontier Inc. in Burbank, Calif., owned by her husband Dan Poppe, left. Automakers are turning to another new technology – hydrogen fuel cells that have zero emissions.

Abby Hines, Staff Writer

The cost of living in San Diego will be increasing this upcoming Fall. Effective Nov. 1, 2017 will be a 12 cent tax on every gallon of gas. Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders of California passed a bill in hopes to succeed in a 10-year, $52 billion plan to fix roads within the San Diego community.

The proposed 10-year plan, approved on April 28, also includes a 20 cent per gallon tax on diesel fuel, increasing registration fees within a specific scale, and an additional $100 annual fee on emission-free vehicles to compensate for the fuel they don’t consume. The zero-emission vehicle registration fee will take effect on July 1, 2020.

Gas prices in San Diego are among some of the highest in the nation and an additional tax is worrisome to many. There have been growing concerns from numerous San Diego college students on how the tax will hinder their monthly expenses and budgeting, especially impacting those who support themselves.

Mesa student, Aleyah Glasper, 18, said, “Even though it’s only 12 cents, that money can go a long way and really adds up.” Glasper’s friend Leiloa Ulut, 18, chimed in, “I am just hearing this now and I’m wondering why they haven’t let college students like us know about it before.”

Ulut continued expressing the impact that the tax will have on college students and the ability or inability for students to afford the trip to school. She explained how even if she isn’t driving, someone is and eventually she will be paying into it, and how it will be harder to get around with increasing prices.

According to Victoria, a 20-year-old student at Mesa, the upcoming tax, “is frustrating how we have tried to put money towards fixing transportation in the past but we haven’t seen the proof of our money being spent as promised, and now people who drive are paying for those who aren’t driving or having to pay into the tax.”

Not only will the tax improve road maintenance but it will also provide funding for park and recreation organizations, as well as rehabilitation programs. According to the official Legislative Counsel’s Digest, “This bill would annually set aside $200,000,000 of the funds available for the program to fund road maintenance and rehabilitation purposes in counties that have sought and received voter approval,”

Gov. Jerry Brown’s office called the bill “a landmark road repair and transportation investment package” that will go towards fixing roads, freeways and bridges. Unfortunately for San Diego commuters, the money will not be funding projects to increase the number of highway lanes, which is a concern with the steadily growing San Diego population.