Newsom’s Gas Rebate Would Hamper State’s Climate Goals | Guest Comment | Guest

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a gasoline rebate proposal last month to combat high gasoline prices in California. Under the proposal, all vehicle owners with state-registered cars would receive a $400 debit card sent directly to their homes, with those with multiple cars receiving $800. If passed, this proposal would disproportionately benefit wealthy Californians.

To help mitigate some of the impacts of inflation on the broader economy, the Newsom administration should instead take the broader approach outlined by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate Speaker Pro Tem Toni. Atkins: Use the state budget surplus to provide Californians with a general reimbursement. for the relief of all rising costs, not just gas.

California has some of the highest gas prices in the country, and working-class citizens across the state are dealing with the effects of record inflation. As our economy recovers from the pandemic, California still has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. It’s not controversial to say that many Californians are struggling and the government should step in to help.

However, choosing a fossil fuel to frame a tax refund is unnecessary and at odds with California’s and the governor’s climate goals.

Oil and gas companies are posting record profits due to soaring gasoline prices and, of course, passing those profits on to their executives. The California government should focus on tackling greedy polluters, not subsidizing them.

Moreover, a gas rebate will not solve the crucial question of our dependence on fossil fuels. If Newsom is serious about helping all Californians, he must take significant steps to move California’s transportation system toward zero-emissions technologies.

Earlier this year, Newsom detailed a new transportation budget proposal, including subsidies for free public transit and substantial investments in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure. The proposal contains some excellent elements, but Newsom should push even more aggressive legislation to ensure that California can break its dependence on fossil fuels as soon as possible.

Outside of the Legislature, the governor can double down on electric vehicles. He is expected to lobby the California Air Resources Board to pass the Advanced Clean Cars II rule that increases sales of zero-emission vehicles as quickly as possible before reaching 100% by 2035.

The governor is also expected to push the air board to adopt a tough advanced clean fleet rule that requires 100% of heavy-duty truck sales to be ZEVs by 2036. Finally, Newsom is expected to encourage the air board to use its existing authority to force the removal of fossil fuel trucks as soon as the law permits.

As the governor looks for ways to provide relief to Californians, he must be careful not to deepen the state’s reliance on dirty fuels. The historic budget surplus and wide range of proposed air board transportation regulations provide Newsom with a unique opportunity to make real and incremental changes to our infrastructure while advancing the country’s climate goals. State. Let’s not waste this moment on a few Exxon Mobil gift cards.