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Berkeley economist says there’s a “mystery surcharge” for California gas

Eli Wirtschafter
At a Shell station in Oakland, pictured Monday, fueling up costs over $4 a gallon.

Gas prices have topped $4 a gallon at some stations in the Bay Area. Fuel in California usually costs more than any other in state in the continental US.

That’s one of the reasons we had a ballot fight over repealing the 12 cent gas tax that was passed last year. But Berkeley economist Severin Borenstein says high taxes and regulations alone can’t explain why our gas costs so much.

"We're paying somewhere between three and four billion dollars a year extra for gasoline, above what we'd normally expect to pay."

Transportation reporter Eli Wirtschafter asked Borenstein to explain when he calls California’s “mystery gas surcharge.”

For more, read Borenstein’s original article, California’s real gasoline ‘tax’ problems.


Eli is the Program Director for KALW's project in state prisons. We teach incarcerated people how to record and edit audio stories, and air them as part of the series Uncuffed.