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Sticker shock as state gas prices soar past $6 a gallon

As gas prices have passed $6 a gallon statewide, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a $18.1 billion inflation relief package aimed at helping Californians trying to make ends meet amid a rising cost of living. Courtesy Pixabay.

Gov. Gavin Newsom -- apparently sensing that skyrocketing inflation rates might top rising COVID rates on many Californians' list of concerns -- pivoted from vaccines to the soaring cost of living while speaking Wednesday at a Bakersfield clinic after receiving his second booster shot.

Newsom: "We are proposing an $18.1 billion additional package of relief ... to address the pressures, the cost pressures, the inflationary pressures, that everybody's feeling. ... We recognize the world we're living in, the anxiety and stress so many people are facing. But this state is better positioned than any other state to address those issues head-on, and we look forward to making real on these promises ... by finalizing budget negotiations with the Legislature and getting those checks out."

Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk of Lancaster tweeted: "To use Gavin Newsom-style lingo, CA Democrats have left CA's most vulnerable in petrol purgatory by dangling the promise of relief. Republicans have a plan to provide it NOW" by suspending the gas excise tax.

The cost of living was also a major focal point of a Wednesday event hosted by Californians Against Retail and Residential Theft, a new group composed largely of business associations that aims to educate lawmakers and the public about the "growing wave of theft" it says has been enabled by Proposition 47.

Amid high-profile smash-and-grab-robberies and rising voter concerns about crime, Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike introduced a variety of bills to toughen the 2014 voter-approved ballot measure that reduced penalties for certain theft and drug offenses -- to no avail.

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David Nelson, director of public policy for the California Asian Chamber of Commerce, told me: "The overarching point, it's true -- it is a political calculation. And I think that's why we continue to face headwinds within the Capitol. But ... look, it is an election year and we are socializing these issues from a political perspective with candidates."

One particularly powerful argument, the group seemed to suggest: the impact on everyday Californians' pocketbooks.

Richard Wardwell, president of Superior Grocers and member of the California Grocers Association: "As a business, if I'm making $100 a day in profit and I lose $100 in theft, I now have zero profit. So in order to make a profit, I have to raise retail prices. ... So you have the rising cost of fuel, you have the rising cost of labor, you have the rising cost of theft, the rising cost of insurance ... If an employee approaches a person stealing and gets hurt, then the worker's comp component goes into play and that's a significant impact to the business as well. So all of that relates back to the cost on the shelf and how people can afford to buy it."

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Email Emily Hoeven at [email protected]

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics. Read more state news from CalMatters here.

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Sticker shock as state gas prices soar past $6 a gallon

by Emily Hoeven / CalMatters

Uploaded: Mon, May 23, 2022, 10:19 am

Gov. Gavin Newsom -- apparently sensing that skyrocketing inflation rates might top rising COVID rates on many Californians' list of concerns -- pivoted from vaccines to the soaring cost of living while speaking Wednesday at a Bakersfield clinic after receiving his second booster shot.

Newsom: "We are proposing an $18.1 billion additional package of relief ... to address the pressures, the cost pressures, the inflationary pressures, that everybody's feeling. ... We recognize the world we're living in, the anxiety and stress so many people are facing. But this state is better positioned than any other state to address those issues head-on, and we look forward to making real on these promises ... by finalizing budget negotiations with the Legislature and getting those checks out."

Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk of Lancaster tweeted: "To use Gavin Newsom-style lingo, CA Democrats have left CA's most vulnerable in petrol purgatory by dangling the promise of relief. Republicans have a plan to provide it NOW" by suspending the gas excise tax.

The cost of living was also a major focal point of a Wednesday event hosted by Californians Against Retail and Residential Theft, a new group composed largely of business associations that aims to educate lawmakers and the public about the "growing wave of theft" it says has been enabled by Proposition 47.

Amid high-profile smash-and-grab-robberies and rising voter concerns about crime, Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike introduced a variety of bills to toughen the 2014 voter-approved ballot measure that reduced penalties for certain theft and drug offenses -- to no avail.

David Nelson, director of public policy for the California Asian Chamber of Commerce, told me: "The overarching point, it's true -- it is a political calculation. And I think that's why we continue to face headwinds within the Capitol. But ... look, it is an election year and we are socializing these issues from a political perspective with candidates."

One particularly powerful argument, the group seemed to suggest: the impact on everyday Californians' pocketbooks.

Richard Wardwell, president of Superior Grocers and member of the California Grocers Association: "As a business, if I'm making $100 a day in profit and I lose $100 in theft, I now have zero profit. So in order to make a profit, I have to raise retail prices. ... So you have the rising cost of fuel, you have the rising cost of labor, you have the rising cost of theft, the rising cost of insurance ... If an employee approaches a person stealing and gets hurt, then the worker's comp component goes into play and that's a significant impact to the business as well. So all of that relates back to the cost on the shelf and how people can afford to buy it."

Email Emily Hoeven at [email protected]

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

Comments

Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on May 23, 2022 at 4:08 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on May 23, 2022 at 4:08 pm

It seems like two things could be done rather quickly and either temporarily or permanently: 1. Eliminate the state gas taxes 2. Allow fuel from other states to be sold in CA. Unfortunately, I suspect that neither will be done as they would illustrate the high taxes levied on fuel, and call into question why we have special CA reformulated gasoline.


James Thurber
Registered user
Shoreline West
on May 23, 2022 at 5:11 pm
James Thurber, Shoreline West
Registered user
on May 23, 2022 at 5:11 pm

Expensive gas? Could it be payback time for those driving huge, jacked up 4 door, four-wheel drive pick-up trucks? Let's hope not.

I have a sneaking suspicion that oil company profits will be THRU THE ROOF. When the wholesale price goes up gas prices IMMEDIATELY go up. When the wholesale / per barrel price drops does anything happen to the price of gasoline? Nope.

Folks, the oil companies have been cheating you for decades. Time to seriously consider a hybrid with outrageous gas mileage or perhaps even an electric.

How about if you begin to take public transportation or ride a bicycle? The cost and availability of gasoline won't quite cease to be an issue but it'll help. Here's hoping that when the company profits are released that government has a fit and begins to regulate the price of gasoline. It is, after all, a necessity.


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