Oct. 23–Q: Isn’t it time for the summer blend of fuel to revert back to the winter blend and therefore create a substantial reduction of prices at the pump? Or are gas companies continuing the higher price summer blend to influence voters on the gas tax issue whose revenue is being used to fix our roads and infrastructure?
Bob Ruff , San Jose
A: We switch to the winter and cheaper formula Nov. 1, and that could trim costs by 13 or so cents a gallon. But it has little to do with Prop. 6, the effort to repeal the 12-cent a gallon tax approved by Sacramento.
For winter blend, refiners can add butane to gas and produce 5 percent to 8 percent more gas from every barrel of crude. This formula evaporates easier as the demand for fuel is lower compared to the summer. But while this gas is cheaper to produce, that does not guarantee savings at the pump. Soaring crude oil prices, California’s robust economy and staggering congestion will likely keep pump prices near $4 a gallon.
Q: Mr. Roadshow _ help! One of our cars was stolen a couple of weeks ago (for the second time this year). We don’t think it’s coming home this time.
We filed a police report, called our insurance company (we don’t have theft coverage) and went to the DMV. The problem is no one can tell us how to get rid of the title and relieve ourselves of liability. Also, when should we take it off our insurance? What happens if it’s found in a few weeks?
Lisa and Michael Kinneman
A: The DMV does not need to be notified when a vehicle is reported stolen to police and the insurance company. If the vehicle is recovered, the stolen vehicle flag should be removed from the vehicle record by law enforcement. Insurance companies will transfer title to the insurance company when the vehicle is an unrecovered stolen vehicle.
If the renewal fees became due during the period it was out of your possession and is later recovered, a Statement of Facts (REG 256a) can be completed stating the date vehicle was stolen and date it was recovered. Late penalties may be waived if the expiration date is after the registration expiration date.
Lisa and Mike’s car was a 1988 Toyota Camry with about 178,000 miles and was stolen out of their driveway. Thieves often target older cars for their parts and they usually lack anti-theft devices of newer cars.
Q: Are electric vehicles ever going to pay their fair share to use the roads? Or are they going to keep getting the free ride on road taxes and license fees?
Doug Ortega, Carmel
A: Yep. Starting in 2020, EVs get hit with a $100 a year registration fee.
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