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California’s schizophrenic energy policy

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California, once a state known for its car culture, is now famous for routinely topping the nation in the price of gasoline. As of publication, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the Golden State was $6.38. Diesel was even higher at $6.99, which affects us all because 40% of all container cargo traffic goes through California’s ports, which are serviced by diesel engine trucks.

In contrast, the average price of a gallon of regular gas is $4.46 in Georgia. A gallon of diesel is just $5.30 in Oklahoma.

The consistently high price of California gas is no mystery. For starters, the state has very strict environmental laws (stricter than national standards), which make it more expensive to refine oil into gasoline.

The state also has the highest gas tax in the country at 51 cents per gallon. And it is set to go higher on July 1, inching up to 54 cents a gallon.

The purpose of California’s gas tax is not just to raise revenue. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order this year, setting a goal of 35% electric for all new car sales by 2026, 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035.

In other words, the goal of California’s Democrat-controlled government is to get rid of all gas-powered vehicles by the end of the next decade. The high gas prices California consumers are suffering from right now are just part of Newsom’s climate policy.

Unfortunately for Newsom, the pain he is inflicting on voters is a bit too much for them to bear. Nearly 60% of California voters say the state is “on the wrong track,” and more than 70% say that high gasoline prices are a serious problem.

Newsom has a solution for this too. He wants to send every Californian who has a car registered in the state a $400 gas rebate check. So just as California’s government is set to take more money from motorists in the form of higher gas taxes with one hand, it will send that money right back with the other.

California Democrats aren’t even robbing Peter to pay Paul — they are just robbing Paul to pay Paul!

The problem for California Democrats, and Democrats nationally, is that their energy policies are designed to raise the price of energy from fossil fuels. This is a feature, not a bug. When the economy is strong, voters might forgive Democrats for expensive energy. But when inflation is eating into everyone’s paychecks, the situation could be very different.

In a state as thoroughly dominated by the Democrats as California is, it may be enough for them to buy voters off with a $400 check to remain in power. But nationally, voters know exactly whom to blame for the pain at the pump. Democrats are set to lose both chambers of Congress accordingly.

Washington Examiner

Political news and commentary about Congress, the president and the federal government from the Washington Examiner.

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