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Election results 2018: Proposition 6 gas tax repeal crashes, burns [Updated]

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Voters favor funding transit at the pump

An antique gas pump in the desert. Photo by Charles Harker

On Tuesday, California voters opted to preserve a state tax on gasoline, deciding that funding major transit initiatives was worth more than the potential to save at the pump.

Shortly after midnight, the California Secretary of State’s early vote tallies indicated that with over 51 percent of precincts reporting Proposition 6 sputtered out with just 44.9 percent in favor, a deficit of nearly 500,000 votes.

In San Francisco the measure was even less popular, with more than 81 percent of voters torching the repeal in early vote counts.

If it had passed, Proposition 6 would have undone a 2017 law imposing a 12-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a 20-cents-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel.

Although backers of Proposition 6—including the California Republican Party, which both campaigned hard against the original tax bill and in favor of the repeal attempt—hoped it would be relatively easy to convince drivers to give themselves a tax break, it appears that they’ve been gassed out.

The gas tax is projected to generate $54 billion over the next 10 years for transportation infrastructure across the state, including hundreds of millions of dollars for Bay Area roads, ferries, and rail transit.

Proposition 6 would also have made it impossible for the legislature to level any additional fuel taxes in the future without voter approval.

[Update: On Wednesday morning the state reported that Prop 6 now trailed by more than 700,000 votes, with the “no” option prevailing with 55.3 percent of the total so far.]