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How much do Californians pay in taxes and fees on each gallon of gas?

A Southern California firm says it adds up to $1.21 per gallon, the highest in the nation.

CALIFORNIA, USA — We all know that living in California isn't cheap compared to other states.

Take gas prices for example.

We pay the highest price per gallon in the country.

According to AAA, as of July 15, the average for regular unleaded is $4.31.

But, how much of that is just taxes and fees?

In February, Stillwater Associates, a transportation fuels consulting firm based in Irvine, released an analysis about gas taxes and fees, concluding in California, it adds up to a whopping $1.19 per gallon.

News 8 asked Stillwater senior associate Leigh Noda to verify that number.

He stands by it, and says now, it’s even higher at $1.21.

On July 1st, the excise tax in California went up by 6/10 of a cent,” said Noda.

Sales tax on gas has also increased since then.

Noda says the total is made up of a variety of taxes, as well as fees associated with state programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Those, he says are unique, and they're often overlooked.

We did the math ourselves and came up with the same number.

Here's the breakdown:

Federal excise tax – 18.4 cents per gallon (cpg)
California state excise tax – 51.1 cpg, some of which is used for roads, freeways and bridges
Sales tax – It varies by area. The average is 12.7 cpg
Underground storage tank fee – 2 cpg
Fuels under the cap – 15.1 cpg This program works to control greenhouse gases.
Low carbon fuel standard - 22.6 cpg This program is designed to reduce carbon intensity in transportation fuels.

Does California pay the highest in gas taxes and fees?


Noda says the nationwide average for fees and taxes is 65 cents less compared to California.

“The U.S. average for fees and taxes is about 56.5 cents and we're at $1.21.”

Do other factors play a role in California's high gas prices?


Among them: California has a special grade of gasoline, and 10% of it is ethanol, which costs more money to transport.

There's also the higher cost of doing business here.

“A lot of that has to do with the real estate costs. Service stations need a higher margin to cover those costs,” said Noda.

He believes taxes and fees will continue to rise as a result of California's environmental programs becoming more stringent.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego gas prices are spiking (Feb. 2021)

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