LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A gas tax increase of more than 3 cents went into effect across the state Monday.

The state gas tax is now 39.5 cents per gallon. Thanks to the increase, drivers in California have the highest gas tax (state and federal combined) in the nation at 71.9 cents, officials said.

In February, the California Board of Equalization voted to raise the excise tax rate largely to make up for a tax-revenue shortfall.

“While gasoline consumption had been reduced slightly in recent years, in 2011 and 2012 the price of gasoline greatly and unexpectedly outpaced these modest declines in consumption. Higher gasoline prices mean the BOE must adjust the excise tax to make up for the sales tax loss, and achieve the revenue neutrality mandated by the legislation,” according to the California Board of Equalization.

Gasoline sales tax revenues fund local government programs, while the state excise tax on gasoline funds highway and mass transit projects throughout California.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Los Angeles was $4.06 Monday, according to AAA.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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