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California Governor signs $52B fuel tax and vehicle fee bill for transportation infrastructure; $100 ZEV fee

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law SB1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The bill will raise $52.4 billion over the next decade through an increase in fuel taxes and vehicle fees—including on zero emission vehicles (ZEVs)—to fix roads, freeways and bridges in communities across California and put more dollars toward transit and safety.

The package is funded in the following ways:

  • $7.3 billion by increasing diesel excise tax 20 cents (currently $0.13) on 1 November 2017.

  • $3.5 billion by increasing diesel sales tax to 5.75% on 1 November 2017.

  • $24.4 billion by increasing gasoline excise tax 12 cents (currently $0.30) on 1 November 2017.

  • $16.3 billion from an annual transportation improvement fee based on a vehicle’s value starting 1 January 2018

  • $200 million from an annual $100 Zero Emission Vehicle fee starting 1 July 2020.

  • $706 million in General Fund loan repayments.

Accountability provisions direct the funds to transportation only. The new funding will allow Caltrans to make major repairs to California's transportation infrastructure including 17,000 miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts over the next ten years. The package will also fund investments in repairing local streets and roads. The package also provides historic levels of public transportation funding—roughly double what was provided by Proposition 1B in 2006.

The following funds will be split equally between state and local investments over a ten-year horizon:

Fix Local Streets and Transportation Infrastructure (50%):

  • $15 billion in “Fix-It-First” local road repairs, including fixing potholes.

  • $7.5 billion to improve local public transportation.

  • $2 billion to support local “self-help” communities that are making their own investments in transportation improvements.

  • $1 billion to improve infrastructure that promotes walking and bicycling--double the existing funding levels.

  • $825 million for the State Transportation Improvement Program local contribution.

  • $250 million in local transportation planning grants.

Fix State Highways and Transportation Infrastructure (50 percent):

  • $15 billion in “Fix-it-First” highway repairs, including smoother pavement.

  • $4 billion in bridge and culvert repairs.

  • $3 billion to improve trade corridors.

  • $2.5 billion to reduce congestion on major commute corridors.

  • $1.4 billion in other transportation investments, including $275 million for highway and intercity-transit improvements.



Good move, I just wih he would have increased the diesel and gasoline tax by more at least 50 cents or more just to show to this clown Buffon of Trump that California stands firm to it's comiment to more efficient car en technologies, even if the mileage waiver is rolled back, only very efficient car can be sold in California. Asides road and infrastructure urgently need fund and actions in California, yes we need more cycling lane but some road are like mine fields. Ev charging stations need to be multiplied as well.


California pays for its roads until some red states.


It's a pity they don;t add $0.5 nationally to gasoline and diesel in the USA, you could then do most of what Trump would want to do.
A nice big wall, tax cuts for the rich company tax down to %15.
The question is - should you do it all in 1 go, or 10 cents / year for 5 years.


Be careful about increasing fuel taxes. It's no coincidence here in the UK that the massive surge in diesel ownership happened as fuel taxes increased under the fuel duty escalator to some 57p per litre. With air pollution now big issue, the idea that fuel taxes would benefit the environment has backfired badly. The highly taxed rate of fuel is THE reason I bought a diesel to keep a lid on fuel costs, as I have to commute 35 miles to work. My wife commutes 30 miles in the opposite direction, so moving is not an option. Neither are EVs, as we often need to cover greater distances. We drive to France for holidays, or parts of the UK for work, camping trips, or to see family.

Remember also, fuel taxes are regressive, hitting the poorest hardest. So don't expect to see more wealthy folk ditching their SUVs in a hurry. It will put low paid people into fuel poverty, especially if they have no alternatives.

The negative s outweigh the limited benefit in my view. To be cynical, it's a stealth tax and nothing more.


@Scott, a good response.
The same happened in Ireland where we had 70% new cars being diesel for the last few years, with a degradation in urban air quality.
The problem was that the taxes were framed purely in terms of CO2, rather than a more general pollution mix, which includes NOX and Hc as well as CO2.
Thus, you would have to tax diesel more than petrol (for instance) and bring it in over 5 years so poorer people don't get slammed immediately.
The best car for you sounds like a hybrid - there are quite a few used hybrids available in Ireland, they bring them in from Japan.
The EU has made an awful mess of automotive pollution by concentrating only on CO2 and by letting the car companies to cheat for years, allowing the problem get worse and worse.
IMO, they will have to (and are) bring in the new WLTP test which will be better (but far from perfect). When they do this, the CO2 levels recorded will shoot up 20-30% and make the EU commission look like fools, but they will have to do it and just suck up the embarrassment.
Most countries will also have to adjust their CO2 tax thresholds for cars measured in this way to avoid destroying their car industries, but so what, they already did that in 2008 in Ireland and it did have big repercussions on the car sales industry.
The rest of the EU will have to do the same when the WLTP comes in and the notion of getting cars to 95 gms/Km will have to be pushed way out.


OK, my figure of 20-30% worse was way too high.
This paper
suggests it will be more like 5-8% (which seems too low, but there you have it).


I've studied emissions equipment in the US, and while there was an emissions scandal/failure with VW(and some others), the US/CARB placed emissions standards on vehicles to target HCs, PM, and NOx. CO2 has only been a recent concern, but that has been addressed by CAFE laws. Fuel consumption here for the longest time has been more of a national security issue than a climate issue.
Only recently I think has euro targets on NOx and PM have been close to the US.

What needs to happen here and across the world is yearly or bi-yearly emissions testing. Even if it is only OBDii pass/fail, it will take the bad actors off the road. New cars are only a small portion of vehicles on the road, the ever aging population. If the government came out with a program like cash for clunkers we could see quick improvements to air quality. Giving money for people to make fixes to their car or assistance affording a newer one would go a very long way.

Modern diesels' with SCR and DPFs aren't for the lay man, they need to be worked or they are an expensive garage ornament. These style diesels' wouldn't work well in passenger cars, compared to alternatives. Diesel hybrids may do well though as the engine can be loaded heavily at the optimum times for light off of the DPF.

We can probably wring a few more percentage points of efficiency out of gasoline engines with advanced fuels, diesels are nearly at their peek as far as efficiency goes. BEVs and FCs will start filling in the gaps at the outliers and working thier way to center.

FC over the road trucks will be fairly attractive to fleets, as long as the technology helps the bottom line. Greed is a great motivator.

The biggest distruptive force for any change will come from autonomous vehicles(even just collision avoidance). If vehicles don't crash as often, we will see an era where vehicle age means very little, and the average age will climb. It needs to come at the right time with the right technology. If in ten-twenty years all preventable crashes were avoided cars could very well see twenty years of age. Where that becomes an issue is the spare parts industry, the frequency of refreshes/changes from the manufacturer, and battery longevity. The aftermarket will have to step up and get into selling replacement battery packs. BEVs could be designed around the notion that the car will last 40years in service, making the possibility for battery swaps from the aftermarket a reality.

All we need to do is look to the skies and see where aviation is at the moment. There are always new sales, but there are fully functional models where the body is twenty years old or more.

Jason Burr

@CheeseEater88 - OBDii pass/fail is a joke. I have lived and registered cars in California and Tennessee - CA is much harder to cheat or game the system, and usually costs you more than just fixing the car so it passes. But in TN (Nashville) you can get a chip tune on your car that makes it pass their OBD test, so you can have a gross polluter that passes no problem. Even had a buddy cut his cat conv off then stick the heat shield back in the same place - his car passed.

Only part that sucks is the dyno test they introduced in CA for smog test. That is a pain.

As for $100 on ZEV, they have been working on how to get road tax from vehicles that don't get fuel. For a while they were working on a GPS device to measure mileage. Obvious privacy concerns there, but they still need to come up with a better method to tax actual usage.


Back on topic, paying for roads. Some red states hate government and taxes but are always getting road grants from government with tax dollars.

California actually raises revenue for roads, they do not pretend the money comes from some general fund that they don't have to pay into. The old saying is "there is no free lunch".



Are you sure it was the fuel tax not the false claims by the manufactures of the diseasels hoodwinking legislators and consumers?

If you can sell rubbish to consumers at a premium and ignore the health and scientific imperative, why not?

Unless (in VW's case) $40b + in fines bothers you.
A bit late to put it all back in the box now.

The point is criminality is hard to legislate around.
It's not the legislation that failed there but some of our most trusted manufactures.


I agree that regressive taxes are inappropriate and clumsy but a carbon tax (and actionable legislation on criteria pollutants) - if combined with compensation to low income earners will incentivise rivalry amongst manufactures to produce a more suitable product.

The objective of pollution reduction can be achieved without being a burden to those least able to pay.

For the rest who think that there is any future for ICE
along the business as usual lines.
Stop and think it - won't hurt.
Every bit of fossilised (oil) stored as HC taken is additive to the problem.

Unless it is safely returned to long term store you are playing a game of self deception and in denial of the laws of nature. No amount of(realistic) technology can change that.

There is no future for ICE as we know (with fossil fuel source) it at present.

There are no global scale alternatives current but there are many realisable solutions that in combination suggest the future requirements can be engineered.

Wind and Solar for power gen.
Consumer level BEV's>FC's>small%>I.C.E.hybrid are viable contributors to pollution reduction NOW

A bit further out Heavy vehicles, air and sea are all looking possible.


Heavy vehicles could go battery / fuel cell / catenary wire or power rail - easy enough as it is on land, and can be fairly heavy. (or rail).

Sea could go natural gas or "clean" diesel perhaps with kites or slow steaming.

Air is more of a problem for serious load carrying - maybe some kind of hybrids and slower flying for short haul. (Or electric trains).
It can't be heavy, and you can't run it off rails and the wind is too slow, so a bit of a problem there.
Solar is too low powered for anything beyond reconnaissance or station keeping.


To clarify I wasn't thinking of 'on board' solar or wind rather that for stationary grid to battery or synthetics e.g. H2 esp for any intermittent surplus.

As the density of renewable generators exceeds the instant demand, as it must to ensure reliable supply at low times,there becomes available varying amounts of unallocated capacity that must eventually be able to enable substantial lowest cost 'zero emission energy' and now we see that surplus can be used for grid services and make a range of fuels or be stored in various ways including transport batteries.

If I read correctly into your comment.
It shouldn't be too surprising that the ordinary public think of mounting wind gen on vehicles to provide motive power.

Not surprising because it (non science sense?) is more common than seems possible.

The belief in perpetual motion, fairies etc etc is 'normal for people who have no formal background or understanding.

If you have ever tried to explore such matters you will know that otherwise ordinary and sensible people sometimes just don't and can't get it.

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