When you think of California, a few things spring to mind. One is the state's love affair with the automobile. Another is, of course, how in the past 25 years the state the state has abandoned the center-right politics that gave it governors like Ronald Regan and George Deukmejian for hard-left, tax-and-spend politics.
So it should come as no surprise that the penchant for the latter is harming the former. In a Highway 1 blog post this morning at latimes.com, Los Angeles Times staffer Jerry Hirsch noted how it's high taxes that has a larger impact on the sky-high cost of owning and driving an automobile in California, not the price of gasoline (emphasis mine):
Taxes, not gasoline prices, are the reason California is the state with the second-highest cost for operating a car, Bankrate.com contends.
Californians pay an average $1,809 in taxes and fees for their cars, the financial website said. That’s almost double the national average of $1,058.
Overall, Californians pay an average of $3,966 annually to operate a vehicle. That compares with a national average of $3,201.
Drivers here pay an average of $980 for gasoline, slightly below the $1,028 average.
That may sound odd considering pump prices in California are among the highest in the nation, but Bankrate cites federal data that show residents here drive fewer miles than the national average. Californians drive about 8,600 miles per capita compared with the national average of 9,600, according to the Department of Transportation.
To recap, contrary to popular belief, Californians both pay less for gas on average and drive less on average than other Americans, yet thanks in no small part to high taxes and fees, they have the "second-highest cost for operating a car" in the entire United States.
Don't look for the liberal media to pick up on this little nugget, especially the next time they cherry-pick a gas station in southern California with high gas prices to lament "pain at the pump."