By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California is only days away from another hit to the state’s climbing gas prices. The gas tax bumps up to $.51 on July 1.

It’s gone up every year since 2017 to account for inflation, but some State Senate Republicans want to cut Californians a break.

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Gas prices are currently on average about $4.25/gallon, per AAA. The state GOP wants a “gas tax holiday,” meaning no excise gas tax for a year in order to ease drivers’ pain at the pump.

“Forty-five dollars,” read Leanor Gonzalez, as she topped off her gas tank. It wasn’t even near empty when she stopped to fill up, she said.

Gonzalez is one of the many drivers in the state pinching pennies when it comes to her gas tank.

“I have a bigger car than this one, and I can’t drive it right now,” Gonzalez said. “It costs me almost $90 to fill the tank.”

State Senate Republicans hope to help that amid the state’s huge surplus. They sent a letter to state budget leaders asking for the break, ridding people of the gas tax for a year.

Republican State Senator Jim Nielsen, of Tehama, was among the ones who signed it.

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“It’s timely to raise the issue right now and see if we can find a resolution and agreement with the governor,” Nielsen said.

The idea is welcome news to some small business owners, too. Tim Relles, owner of Relles Florist, spends thousands on gas in a matter of days with each floral delivery.

“This is for seven days,” he said as he pointed to the number on his bill, which added up to more than $2,000.

“It’s expensive,” said Relles. “Any reprieve would be wonderful.”

To ditch the gas tax for a year, the proposal suggests taking from the general fund to fill the gap. But, some drivers like Jose Rodriguez are skeptical it would work.

“They have to keep the balance,” Rodriguez said. “So they have to put more in on and take off from another – it’s just a game the way I see it.”

The gas tax holiday would need to pass through the legislature. Sen. Nielsen said he hasn’t heard much opposition yet.

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Still, many hope no gas tax for a year gets the green light; while others believe it could hit a dead end.

Heather Janssen