Dec 19, 2014 7:13 PM by Brian Johnson
Prices at the pump continue to fall, with the national average now below $2.50 for the first time in nearly five years.
The average in California is $2.78, and the average in Chico is $2.66.
But that relief may not last, due to what has been coined the hidden gas tax.
GasBuddy.com Oil Analyst Patrick DeHaan tells me motorists should brace to add another 20 cents per gallon in the new year.
This is the sixth straight weekend Bob Holdstock and his wife are bringing their small Chico business, Two English Ladies, on the road.
But it's time to fill up, first.
"I'm filling this brute up with an awful lot of diesel," Holdstock said. "We're [going] down to the Cow Palace in San Francisco."
That's $200 each weekend, says Holdstock, and it hurts.
He also didn't like to hear about what many are referring to as the hidden gas tax, what some say will occur as a result of California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, referred to as AB-32, including a Cap and Trade program.
Under which, so called fuel providers, such as refineries, will begin paying a fee tied to the amount of carbon their operations emit.
But the program also allows a kind of pollution auction process that lets companies buy and sell the ability to emit more or less carbon emissions from their operations.
In short, all you need to know is that it will impact prices at the pump.
But how much?
"The truth is we don't really know yet because the Cap and Trade program is basically a program that allows emissions credits to be traded and we don't know what those emission credits may look like," DeHaan said.
Some estimate 10 cents, others 70.
But DeHaan says 20 is more realistic.
So how does that make North State residents feel?
"A little sick, really," Holdstock said. "It's been nice to have a little respite on the prices and we all know it's not going to last..."
"I'm not really not surprised and it is what it is," Laura Thompson said. "We're pretty much at the mercy. We have to get gas so that's just how it's going to be."
"I drive a lot," Debbie Midling said. "I'm a district manager and I cover the valley so 20 cents is a lot. I fill up my tank a couple times a week so that's going to hurt."