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California's gas tax goes up today. Here's what you need to know

 (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A state gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon kicks in today, and while the immediate impact will mean less money in motorists’ wallets, the long-term political fallout could roll into next year, when the higher levies are expected to be an issue in elections across California.

The tax and a new vehicle fee are part of a transportation package approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in April. Republicans are rallying to try to attack the new law — two possible ballot initiatives aim to repeal the new tax. 

Here are five things you should know about the tax increases taking effect today:

How much more in tax will I have to pay on gas?

The state excise tax on gasoline increases today by 12 cents per gallon, going from 29.7 cents per gallon to 41.7 cents per gallon. The state sales tax on gasoline will remain at 2.25%.

What about diesel fuel?

The state excise tax on diesel fuel increases by 20 cents, going from 16 cents per gallon to 36 cents per gallon. The sales tax rate on diesel will increase from 9% to 13%.

I drive an electric car. Will I have to pay?

In lieu of gas taxes, electric car owners will pay a $100 annual fee starting in 2020.

What else do I need to know? 

The gas tax legislation also creates an annual vehicle fee. Starting Jan. 1, drivers will have to pay fees ranging from $25 for cars valued at under $5,000 to $175 for cars worth $60,000 or more.

Also happening today: Much of the state switches from a summer blend of fuel — aimed at reducing smog — to a less expensive winter blend. That typically drops fuel prices from 6 to 12 cents per gallon.

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