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California Considers First Gas Tax Increase Since 1990s; Zero-Emission Cars May Have To Pay, Too

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A California state senator is considering increasing a tax on gas, as well as a introducing a new tax on hybrid vehicles.

California's gas tax is already one of the highest in the nation, despite not increasing since the 1990s. That was before fuel-efficient cars that use much less or even no gas were on the roads.

Chances are if you drive on Interstate 80, you've seen some of California's roads in need of repair. The state says there's a nearly $60 billion backlog of maintenance and repairs on the California's roads.

State Sen. Jim Beall of San Jose says the money needs to be raised for the repairs now, or it will cost much more later.

"Over time, the gasoline tax will have less and less revenue coming into it, as we switch to a non-carbon fuel," he said.

He's behind a new gas tax bill that would increase the current tax by 10 cents a gallon for the first time since the early 1990s. Yearly car registration for all cars would jump $35, and zero-emission cars would have to pay a $100 yearly fee.

Ed Tarter says he's not surprised his fuel-efficient vehicle is in the crosshairs of this proposal. He says he knew it was only a matter of time before states started taxing plug-in hybrids to help fill their coffers.

"In the future here if we have more fuel efficient vehicles coming along, so just raising taxes, I think we need to look at new ways of getting money to invest in our infrastructure," he said.

The proposed gas tax is expected to bring in a total of $15 billion over five years, a far cry from the $60 billion currently needed to fix California's roads.

Beall says it will buy the state time until lawmakers figure out a long-term plan.

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