Fed Up At the Pump Statement on PPIC Poll

Today, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a poll supporting Fed Up at the Pump’s call for the Governor to delay the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) January hidden gas tax. “California’s Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment” found while most Californians support cleaner transportation fuels, that support declines significantly when it leads to higher gas prices.

CARB is implementing a gas price hike in January as a result of Fuels Under the Cap. This new provision of the cap-and-trade regulatory program will, for the first time, apply to transportation fuels.

“While the hidden gas tax is going to affect everybody in California, it’s going to hit Central Valley farmers and ranchers especially hard. California’s economy may have improved in other parts of the state, but the San Joaquin Valley is struggling because of the drought. This region is the driver of California’s agricultural industry and employs hundreds of thousands of employees both on farms and within the value chain of our products. The findings of this survey show that Californians outside of the Central Valley care about how this unfair gas tax will hurt our economy, our farmers and our working-class. I urge Governor Brown and CARB to listen to Californians and find another way to fight climate change without hurting farmers, agriculture employees and businesses already reeling from the drought and recession.”

“The findings of this survey regarding how Californians feel about our state’s carbon emissions law confirm what we already know. There is large support for the notion that we must reduce our carbon emissions, a goal that is also supported by the Fed Up at the Pump Coalition. But that support plummets when Californians find out that to achieve those goals they will be paying 16 to 76 cents more for a gallon of gas starting next year, because of a tax that was created by a state agency with no public notice or legislative review. Many have to drive long distances to drop their kids off at school, get to work, or buy groceries for their families. There must be a better way to bring transportation fuels under the cap and trade system. Let’s delay the January 1, 2015 start date and re-evaluate it in an open and transparent forum. We must be sensitive to our fellow Californians, many who are the working poor, or middle-class and still struggling to get by. Springing an unpredictable gas tax on consumers, especially in a volatile carbon market, is wrong and unfair. It’s time to find another way.”

“Poor and low-income residents in Kern County are barely able to afford food and clothing, let alone pay more for gas. We’ve already seen people unable to afford to buy the gas they need to drive to our food bank and pick up the food and clothing we are giving away for free. This poll reflects the response from so many Californians just struggling to pay for the cost of living in our state, feeding their families and taking their kids to school. An increase in gas prices causes the most problems for people who have no money to begin with. Is it really a good idea to hurt the poor in the name of climate change?”

Fed Up at the Pump is a grassroots coalition of consumers, businesses, and advocates who are concerned about the negative impacts that a hidden, unfair gas tax will have on California. The coalition’s goal is to halt a state-mandated gas tax – created by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) “Fuels Under the Cap” regulations – before it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. This gas tax will disproportionately affect lower-income Californians and there is no guarantee money generated will go to programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The coalition is spearheaded by members of the California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA), a group of independent fuel conveyers in California. CIOMA members provide a strong backbone to the state’s economy but are often blamed for oil industry gas price hikes. The coalition aims to educate consumers about the source of the gas price increase they will experience in January, 2015, a campaign CIOMA believes that CARB should be conducting so Californians can plan for the upcoming gas tax, especially low income workers in the Central Valley.