Santa Claritans respond to gas tax increase

California's gas tax increased 5.6 cents per gallon Monday leading to relatively empty gas stations. Cory Rubin/The Signal

California’s costly gas prices hiked once again Monday with a new 5.6 cents per gallon gasoline tax increase, leaving some Santa Clarita drivers lamenting the new cost.

The rise in prices brought the average price per gallon for regular gasoline across the state to $3.755 per gallon, more than a dollar-per-gallon higher than the national average of $2.717 per p, according to the American Automobile Association. 

The increase stems from Senate Bill 1, a 2017 law intended to raise an estimated $5 billion annually for road and mass transit programs. The tax is set for additional annual increases based on inflation starting July 1, 2020. 

Some Santa Clarita residents and passersby who stopped by Sam’s Club Gas on Carl Boyer Drive said they were already feeling the financial burden, while others shrugged their shoulders. 

“I think just (Sunday), gas here was cheaper; and today, I stopped by here because gas is cheaper,” said resident Melissa Reifman. “We already pay like the most expensive gas in the country and I think it’s kind of ridiculous.”

Some said that even though prices were increasing, they were satisfied to know the tax went to road and transit improvements. 

“It’s a positive thing at the end of the day,” said Lancaster resident John Moore. “I have a good job so I’m not too worried about that. But at the end of the day, you do want to save money, and it may be difficult for others.” 

Santa Clarita resident Ed Vincent claimed the tax increase was “just another excuse. (State officials) don’t keep their word. Our infrastructure is so bad, and we should’ve been spending money on it years ago. And now, we’re suffering. I don’t think we have a choice now, unfortunately.” 

Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean said she’s “like to see an accounting on where the money is going and see a detailed list of roads scheduled to be repaired. I think it’s important for the public to know.” 

As of Monday’s price increase, according to GasBuddy, gas prices varied across the Santa Clarita Valley from $3.45 at Club Gas to $3.99 at a Chevron on The Old Road. 

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