LOS ANGELES - The price is up and spirits are down.
Drivers are starting to feel the pinch of California's new gas tax hike. An extra 12-cents a gallon is now being tacked on at the pump.
The money raised is going to fix dilapidated roads and bridges. It will also boost mass transit and fund other transportation-related projects.
The cost to taxpayers? An estimated $5 billion each year!
CalTrans made a commitment to fix 17,000 lane miles of pavement along with more than 500 bridges, culverts and traffic management systems up and down the state.
The timing of the tax hike should help buffer motorists from pump-shock.
Nov. 1 is also the date stations can switch to cheaper, winter-blend gasoline, balancing out some of the price boost.
But taxpayer watchdog groups say state lawmakers are once again duping Californians.
"What have they been doing with the billion and billions of dollars we've already provided them that they've diverted to other purposes?" said Kris Vosburgh, of Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Vosburgh said the cost to the average family will be closer to $600 each year.
Californians are already pushing back with two initiatives to repeal the tax hike that are in the works right now, according to Vosburgh.
As for motorists -- the jury is still out.
"I drive a lot so it could be bad because I'm spending a little more, but hopefully the tax will help out the cities and the state," said Geoff Ferguson of Whittier.