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Today, members of the Fed Up at the Pump coalition in Kern County are leading an effort to educate and inform consumers, farmers and small business owners about a state-agency mandated gas and diesel price hike that will negatively impact the local economy, especially the agriculture industry and hardworking families in the Central Valley.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Californians will pay 16 to 76 cents more per gallon of gas as a result of a gas tax that was created by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Brown Administration without public knowledge or legislative approval.

“The ag industry in Kern County is getting hit on all sides – a serious lack of water for crops, the lingering recession and now this,” said Beatris Sanders, Executive Director of the Kern County Farm Bureau, who spoke at the Fed Up at the Pump event on Wednesday. “This gas tax is another burden that is making it harder for the agricultural industry to remain sustainable and viable in Kern County.”

The goal of the Fed Up at the Pump campaign is to delay this hidden, unfair gas tax – created by CARB as part of its “Fuels Under the Cap” regulations (AB 32) – before it goes into effect because it will disproportionately affect lower-income Californians who are unaware this price hike is on its way.

According to GasBuddy, the average cost for a gallon of gas in Bakersfield is $4.10. California average is $4.12 and national average is $3.68. During the summer months the price of gas usually increases because of normal market fluctuations. GasBuddy also reports that gas prices for the July Fourth weekend will be the highest since 2008. But this new gas tax mandated by CARB will be a permanent increase, and not due to any market fluctuations.

“The poor and low-income people we help are barely able to purchase food and clothing, let alone pay more for gas,” Chaplain Loron Hodge, executive director of the Hope Center, a non-profit organization assisting low-income families in Kern County, said at the event. “We’ve already seen problems with people who don’t have enough money to buy the gas they need to drive here and pick up food and clothing we are giving away for free. An increase in gas prices causes the most problems for people who have no money to begin with.”

Today’s event at the Fastrip Gas Station and Convenience Store in Bakersfield is the second in a series of Fed Up at the Pump press events planned across the Central Valley. The goal of this event is to educate Kern County residents about the coming gas hike and encourage them to send a letter to Governor Brown through the Fed Up at the Pump website to urge the Governor to stop this hidden gas tax before it hurts those already struggling to get by.

“The decision to add this hidden tax to the already high cost of fuel in California will hurt our most vulnerable families,” said Senator Jean Fuller, who spoke at today’s event. “Higher fuel prices will lead to higher food prices. And, given the historic drought, Central Valley farmers will find it even more difficult to stay in business.”

About Fed Up at the Pump

Fed Up at the Pump is a grassroots coalition of businesses, consumers and advocates who are concerned about the negative impacts that a hidden, unfair gas tax will have on California.

The coalition’s goal is to halt a state-mandated gas tax – created by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) “Fuels Under the Cap” regulations – before it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. This gas tax will disproportionately affect lower-income Californians and there is no guarantee money generated will go to programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The coalition is spearheaded by members of the California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA), a group of independent fuel conveyers in California. CIOMA members provide a strong backbone to the state’s economy but are often blamed for oil industry gas price hikes. The coalition aims to educate consumers about the source of the gas price increase they will experience in January, 2015, a campaign CIOMA believes that CARB should be conducting so Californians can plan for the upcoming gas tax, especially low income workers in the Central Valley.

More information can be found at www.fedupatthepump.org


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