California gasoline prices have fallen by 77.4 cents a gallon from the record of $4.671 set in October.
But the state's prices remain among the highest in the nation, and today is no exception. California is running fourth behind Hawaii, Alaska and Illinois with an average of $3.897 a gallon, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
One reason is that California has the nation's highest taxes on gasoline, at 38.2 cents a gallon, according to the Energy Department’s most recent survey.
The U.S. average for state gasoline taxes is 23.5 cents a gallon, but there are broad differences. At the bottom end are states like Alaska and Georgia, where the gasoline tax is just 8 cents a gallon.
Other states high on the list of biggest gasoline taxes are North Carolina (37.7 cents a gallon), Washington (37.6 cents), West Virginia (34.7 cents), and Rhode Island (33.1 cents).
The Energy Department’s survey points out that one reason why California’s taxes are high is that it is one of just four states with an excise tax, a sales tax, and local taxes on gasoline.
California’s high fuel prices continue to have a big impact on the behavior of consumers.
The state’s Board of Equalization recently noted that gasoline consumption fell by 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Gasoline consumption in California has fallen in seven of the last eight calendar quarters, dating back to the first three months of 2011.
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