She drives real fast and she drives real hard,
She’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard.
— The Little Old Lady from Pasadena, The Beach Boys, 1964
I loved this song when I was growing up, and I love it even more now that PRI’s Southern California office is on the famed Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. More than half a century later after the Beach Boys song was recorded, it’s still not hard to imagine the crazy lady in her Dodge barreling down the boulevard under the palm trees.
But that was then, and this is now.
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer and the driving season. And with oil prices forecasted to rise 14 percent higher from last summer, topped off with the fact that Californians pay some of the highest gas taxes in the nation, getting around this summer may not be as fun, fun, fun.
Since God only knows (and Sacramento politicians would like you to forget), how much we are taxed at the pump, wouldn’t it be nice to know? When all the new taxes, fees, and levies that are already in place take effect, Californians will have the second highest gas tax burden in the U.S. after Pennsylvania.
Earlier this year, Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, proposed legislation that would have required every gas station to display a list of applicable state and federal fuel taxes. But the bill failed.
But when San Francisco required small businesses to pay for workers’ health insurance a few years ago, many restaurants began including a healthcare surcharge as an extra line on the customer receipt. Gas station owners in the state might consider doing something similar.
Rowena Itchon is senior vice president at the Pacific Research Institute.