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Why California gas prices are so high and vary so widely ...

In May 2019, state officials said “market manipulation” could be to blame for inflated prices. That October, the California Energy Commission published a report that found that name-brand gas ...

West Hollywood, CA, Tuesday, March 8, 2022 - Jesse Espersen from Topanga fills his SUV with 16.536 gallons of Super  gas at 7.559 per gallon for a total of 125 dollars at a Mobil station at the corner of La Cienega Blvd. and Beverly Blvd.(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Jesse Espersen of Topanga fills his SUV at 7.55 per gallon for a total of 4 at a Mobil station at the corner of La Cienega and Beverly boulevards in West Hollywood. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

You’re filling up your Toyota Camry at a gas station in Los Angeles County — home to six oil refineries that pump out more than a million barrels a day, nearly 60% of the refinery capacity in California. With so much oil so close to home, you might think gasoline would be pretty cheap.

You’d be wrong. With the average cost of gas in the county a wallet-busting .87 a gallon almost three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, a full tank would set you back .74.

That same tank of gas in tiny Yuba County — about 60 miles north of Sacramento, with no refineries and just 82,000 people — would cost on average nearly less. Differences are more stark between California and other states and can even vary wildly from block to block.

No one factor drives these wide gasoline price gaps, but land prices are a big part of the equation in California. A combination of market forces, local differences and entrepreneurial prerogatives also helps determine prices from one filling station — or county — to the next.

Gas station proprietors, like other business owners, are free to charge whatever they want, as long as they don’t engage in illegal practices, such as price fixing or gouging. Branding and pricing strategies often come into play at this stage, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

In fact, lawmakers, consumer advocates and state investigators are looking into alleged price fixing in California and what impact that illegal practice may have on the amount consumers pay for gas at some name-brand stations.

Some of the many factors that help define prices at the pump are more mundane. Rapid shifts in the wholesale price stations pay for gas can have an impact, as their purchasing schedules fail to keep up, De Haan said.

“Stations generally fill their underground tanks every 3-5 days, and with wholesale prices varying daily, and energy markets moving constantly, there's a wide range in what stations themselves pay,” he said in an email.

And then there are land prices.

The Chevron station at 16801 Ventura Blvd. in Encino was charging .49 for a gallon of regular unleaded Wednesday afternoon. Less than two miles away, at the Savings gas station at 18076 Ventura Blvd., a gallon cost .49.

“Encino is difficult for business," said Mike Shahri, who works at the Chevron station. “The real estate here is more expensive than many other areas.”

A related issue is convenience. Many consumers will pay slightly more per gallon if it means avoiding a U-turn at a busy intersection or not going out of their way, said Leo Feler, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast. Offering a specialty service or being the only game in town can also help support elevated prices, while having many competing stations can drive down gas prices in a given area.

At the other end of the spectrum, international events play a key role, even when they have yet to deplete national reserves or cause other significant crunches, Feler said.

“It’s been less than two weeks of sanctions on Russia … and gas prices are already increasing. How can that possibly be?” he said last week. “That’s because it’s all in anticipation of higher prices.”

And then there’s what UC Berkeley energy economist Severin Borenstein has dubbed the “mystery gas surcharge.”

For more than 20 years, California lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups have called for an investigation into why gas prices in California are consistently higher than prices in other states, even after accounting for taxation differences and the costs of adhering to the Golden State’s strict regulatory requirements.

More recently, much of their focus has shifted to questions about why certain name-brand gas stations often charge more than 30 cents more per gallon than stations with less prominent names.

In April 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the California Energy Commission to look into the prices drivers pay at the pump. In May 2019, state officials said “market manipulation” could be to blame for inflated prices.

That October, the California Energy Commission published a report that found that name-brand gas stations charge “higher prices for what appears to be the same product” and that “if competitors decide collectively to fix prices, this may be unlawful.”

The report, which left many key questions unanswered, called on the California Department of Justice to launch its own investigation into potential price fixing and false advertising by gas companies.

“It’s really astounding, the language [the CEC report] used: They’re charging higher prices because they can; it’s the same gasoline, but there’s nothing they can do about it,” Jamie Court, president of the Consumer Watchdog nonprofit advocacy group, said Thursday. “No one knows how much these guys are making when they process this crude into gasoline.”

Knowing the answer to that question could help shed a light on why California drivers pay a “mystery gas surcharge,” which Borenstein defined in a February 2020 blog post as “the premium of California gas prices above the rest of the US, AFTER accounting for the fact that we have higher taxes and environmental fees, and we use a cleaner gas formulation.”

As of Thursday, Borenstein said, the average mystery gas surcharge in California was 48 cents. That’s 17 cents higher than the average mystery surcharge in 2021, but only 1 cent higher than the average surcharge for December.

Kara Greene, a spokeswoman for the Western States Petroleum Assn., saidan average of

.27 of each gallon of gas sold in California goes to taxes, fees and climate programs. Of that amount, 10 cents on average goes toward state and local sales taxes, the latter of which can vary widely, Greene said.

“Municipalities are going to be different. Different places have different excise taxes and that’s the sales tax for gas,” she said. “I live in Sacramento, and they have a much higher sales tax for gasoline than another town might have.”

Borenstein said that while the industry group's figures appear to be accurate, the mystery gasoline surcharge is a separate charge levied in addition to taxes, fees and climate program costs. And branded gas stations typically charge a disproportional amount more than unbranded ones in California, which drives prices even higher.

“The average differential is 7 cents in other parts of the country, and the average differential between branded and unbranded stations in California is 23 cents. That’s data from five years ago, but it makes the point,” he said in an interview Thursday.

“If people were to shop around more and go to those off-brand stations,” he said, “it would put pressure on the branded stations to lower their price. But Californians seem less willing to do that.”

Shortly after the CEC report was released in 2019, Newsom asked then-state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to investigate alleged price fixing and other problematic practices in the oil and gas supply industry.

At the time, Becerra's office said it would launch an investigation, but in an email to The Times last week, the office — now run by Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta — said it could not comment on the investigation or confirm whether it exists, citing a need “to protect integrity.” Court and Borenstein both said the status of the investigation is unknown.

In May 2020, the attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against two energy firms, Vitol Inc. and SK Energy Americas Inc. At the time, the office wrote that the "companies allegedly took advantage of [the] 2015 Torrance Refinery explosion to launch [a] scheme to raise gas prices statewide for their own profit,” ultimately “costing consumers more at the pump.”

In 2020, consumers also filed a string of lawsuits alleging price fixing and other improper activity by the two companies and a third, SK Trading International Co., that were combined into a single class-action suit.

Vitol and SK Energy Americas did not respond to requests seeking comment on the lawsuits.

Borenstein provided context on the increase in prices in his 2020 blog post. He explained that the mystery gasoline surcharge first appeared in the wake of the 2015 blast at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance that injured four workers and resulted in 6,600 in penalties against the energy giant, and that it has persisted ever since.

Before the explosion, “California gasoline prices were higher than elsewhere in the U.S. by an amount that on average reflected the well-known taxes, fees and other cost factors,” he wrote. Gas prices spiked after the blast, but “unlike previous spikes, this one never disappeared. In 2015, it cost California drivers an extra .7 billion.”

The “fundamental problem” driving both California’s elevated gas prices and the premium at name-brand stations, according to Court, is that “when you have five refineries controlling 96% of the gasoline, you don’t have many options because when they squeeze you can’t do anything but wiggle.… They control the price at the pump.”

On Friday, state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) announced legislation to require refiners to publicize how much they pay for crude oil, how much it costs to refine that oil, and the amount of profit they make per gallon of gas they sell.

During a joint news conference with Consumer Watchdog and the California Public Interest Research Group on Friday morning, Allen, who drafted the bill, said data on how the oil and gas industry prices gasoline are “a big black hole.”

“What we’re trying to get at is what’s behind this mystery gas surcharge,” Allen said.

Kevin Slagle, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Assn., said in an email Friday that the organization was "still looking at the bill and may have more specific objections" to it in the coming days.

"[A]ny examination of costs at the pump," he said, "should start with looking at California’s regulatory and tax environment."

The hope for the legislation, Court said, is that such data would help officials and observers to determine how much profit the companies are making off high prices at the pump, and potentially help reveal any price fixing or other improper activity that may be taking place.

He cautioned that “it’s very hard to prove a price-fixing case” but said that if the legislation passes and refineries are found to have been taking too much profit, “we can claw it back with an excess profits tax. We can do a lot of things if we can understand how much it costs for them to produce the gasoline.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Why Gas Prices Are So High in California - The New York Times

22-11-2021 · Some polling data links the president’s low approval ratings to high fuel costs. Here in California, hefty taxes have long made gas prices the highest in the nation. But fuel got even more ...

22-11-2021
ImageA gas station on Bryant Street in San Francisco had the highest price in the city last week at .85 per gallon.
A gas station on Bryant Street in San Francisco had the highest price in the city last week at .85 per gallon.Credit...Jason Henry for The New York Times

For so many of us, the upcoming holiday season offers a moment of normalcy in what has been a long and lonely pandemic.

With the protection of Covid-19 vaccines, extended families are planning to reunite after being apart for months, if not years. Couples are meeting their in-laws for the first time, as well as their siblings’ new babies.

One in five Californians is expected to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, a major jump from the depths of the pandemic last year, according to AAA.

But over the past few weeks, those dreamy itineraries have been complicated by soaring fuel prices.

In California, the average cost of a gallon of gas is currently .71, the highest in the nation. A few weeks ago, the prices here broke a record that was set in 2012 and have only continued to inch up since.

The coronavirus deserves much of the blame. Gas production fell when demand plummeted last year amid stay-at-home orders, and it hasn’t caught up as commuters and tourists return.

Nationwide, the average cost of a gallon of fuel is .41, compared with .11 at the same time last year. In other words, our much-anticipated road trips have gotten roughly 50 percent more expensive.

Over the weekend, my colleagues published a story about Americans who are canceling vacations and rejiggering their budgets to cope with pain at the pump.

Keith Crawford, 57, filling up his Kia Optima last week, said he had started buying smaller amounts of gas twice a week to soften the blow to his bank account.Credit...Jason Henry for The New York Times

Kellen Browning, a New York Times reporter based in San Francisco, interviewed drivers in the city’s NoPa neighborhood who were lined up at an Arco charging .49 a gallon. In other parts of the city, prices have reached as high as .85.

Bay Area residents told Browning that they had started targeting certain gas stations to try to save a few bucks, or filled up small amounts at a time to soften the blow to their bank accounts.

Browning himself avoids filling gas in the city when he can. He knows there are cheaper stations along I-80 on the way to Davis, where he often travels to visit his family.

“I try to time it so that my tank is close to empty near one of those places,” he told me. “When my colleagues on the East Coast were reporting on people’s frustration with gas prices that were between .50 and , that sounded like an absolute steal.”

Last week, President Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil and gas companies were engaging in “illegal conduct” that was driving up prices. Some polling data links the president’s low approval ratings to high fuel costs.

Here in California, hefty taxes have long made gas prices the highest in the nation. But fuel got even more expensive after an atmospheric storm pummeled Northern California last month.

The heavy rains inundated oil refineries with water, which affected gas production in the region, The Los Angeles Times reported. The subsequent cost increases then trickled south to the rest of the state.

Browning told me that some Californians he spoke to said the high gas prices had made them more willing to buy electric cars. Others said it had persuaded them to do all their holiday shopping online.

George Gascón, the Los Angeles County district attorney.Credit...Philip Cheung for The New York Times

George Gascón is remaking criminal justice in L.A. How far is too far?

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, entering federal court in San Jose, Calif., earlier this month.Credit...John G Mabanglo/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Theranos trial: The prosecution in the case against Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood testing start-up, rested its case on Friday.

    And then Holmes herself took the stand.

  • Jobless rate falls: After a lull in September, California employers bounced back in a big way in October as they added 96,800 new jobs, The Associated Press reports.

  • Extra cash for caregivers: More than 500,000 caregivers in California will each receive a 0 bonus from the state as soon as January, The Sacramento Bee reports.

  • Mental health care: A new California law aims to reduce wait times to see a therapist to no more than 10 business days, KQED reports.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

  • Weather warning: Santa Ana winds this week will create high fire danger in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

  • Shots for minors: Scores of Mexican adolescents were bused across the border to San Diego to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, The Associated Press reports.

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

  • Giant sequoias: Three wildfires in California in the past 15 months killed or mortally wounded 13 to 19 percent of these majestic trees.

  • Squaw Valley: The U.S. formally declared “squaw” a derogatory word, bolstering activists’ argument that Fresno County’s Squaw Valley community should be renamed, The Fresno Bee reports.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Credit...Ryan Liebe for The New York Times
Mount Diablo.Credit...Shutterstock

Today’s tip comes from Jennifer Russell, who recommends Mount Diablo State Park in the Bay Area:

“On a clear fall/winter day, after some rain, drive to the top of the mountain for the best viewing experience: look to the west, beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Farallon Islands; southeast to the James Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton; south to Mount Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains, north to Mount Saint Helena in the Coast Range; and still farther north to Lassen Peak in the Cascades. North and east of Mount Diablo the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers meet to form the twisting waterways of the Delta. To the east beyond California’s great central valley, the crest of the Sierra Nevada seems to float in space.

All in all, you can see over 8,539 square miles and parts of 40 of California’s 58 counties from the Summit of Mount Diablo.

There’s a handicapped accessible trail at the top and a really fun visitor center. On the way back down the mountain, stop at Rock City for a picnic and take the “Trail through time” marked trail over and around several sandstone caves.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Credit...Simone Summers, Photos by Simone
‘Really sad’: Why gas prices in California are so high ...

1 day ago · ‘Really sad’: Why gas prices in California are so high, according to a state assemblymember. Dani Romero. March 27, 2022, 8:31 AM ...

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People also ask
  • Why is gas still so expensive in California?

    To put it most simply: Gasoline is expensive in California because California politicians desire it to be so. Many of them would love to see prices at / gallon. It is only due to the dwindling resistance that gas prices are not far higher.
    Why Is California So Expensive? (Housing, Gas, Etc ...
  • Why are California gasoline taxes so high?

    This is due to taxes and environmental charges. The federal government imposes an excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. The state can introduce additional taxes, which is higher than any other state in California, for a total of 66.98 cents. data From the American Petroleum Institute show.

    Many are quick to blame President Joe Biden for the high cost of gas in the United States — especially the prices in California, which are the most expensive in the country. 

    A recent headline on Fox News read: "California drivers react to the most expensive gas prices in America," and stated, "Some Mendocino, Calif., drivers blame Biden for soaring gas prices."

    Former President Donald Trump also accused Biden of damaging the oil industry while speaking to Mark Levin on his Nov. 20 show "Life, Liberty & Levin." Trump falsely claimed that gas prices in California are .50 a gallon, which is far off from the average price of .71 a gallon, reported by AAA. 

    But can a president really impact gas prices? 

    Severin Borenstein, an energy economist at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, said there isn't much that a president can do to affect the situation.

    "In the long run, a president could have some effect on oil prices by making major changes in the land available for development and related regulations," Borenstein wrote in an email. "But even that would be difficult without the support of Congress. And it would take many years or longer to have any impact on oil prices."

    The price of crude oil is the steady driver for the high price of gasoline across the country, and in the last six months crude oil prices rose because there hasn't been enough world supply to meet world demand.

    "The only way in which Biden has influenced that is in passing some of the macro economic stimulus, which has kept the economy growing, which has increased the demand for gasoline (as has getting the vaccine out)," Borenstein wrote. "So, in the sense that we have a stronger economy than we would have had without the American rescue package and other policies, that is on Biden and the Democrats in Congress. But otherwise, it's pretty much out of the hands of DC politicians."

    Biden announced Tuesday he's releasing 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the nation's emergency stockpile, to lower energy costs, but Borenstein said the impact will likely be minimal.

    "SPR releases typically have very small effects, but the administration has negotiated with other consuming countries – Japan, China, South Korea – to get them to also release oil from their SPRs," Borenstein wrote in an email. "Even with all that participation, however, the additional supply will probably amount to less than 2% of world demand so the impact will be pretty modest."

    Even without the additional release of the barrels, the price of gas has been slowly declining — as crude oil prices topped out about a month ago and have been dropping gradually ever since. The price of gas at the pump is expected to drop more in coming days and weeks: The national average price for a gallon of gas was .40 on Tuesday, down a penny since last week, AAA said.  

    After persisting at above a barrel since Labor Day, the price of crude oil dropped into the mid-s this week, AAA said. 

    “The price of crude oil accounts for about 50–60% of what consumers pay at the pump, so a lower oil price should translate into better gasoline prices for drivers,” Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson, said in a statement. “But until global oil production ramps back up to pre-pandemic levels, this recent dip in the price of crude may only be temporary.” 

    California had the highest average price in the nation Tuesday at .705 a gallon, slightly less than Monday's average of .706, AAA said. 

    "California prices have increased a little bit more than the rest of the country, but basically we are in line and it is due to rising crude oil prices," Borenstein explained. "It is possible that refinery outages associated with the heavy rains a couple weeks ago had a small impact, but mostly it is just higher crude oil prices."

    But California prices are also higher for other reasons beyond the cost of crude oil, and those are complicated.

    Gas prices approach  per gallon at a Shell Station on Bryant Street in San Francisco, on Tuesday, Nov. 23. 

    Gas prices approach per gallon at a Shell Station on Bryant Street in San Francisco, on Tuesday, Nov. 23. 

    Charles Russo/SFGATE

    Californians pay higher gas taxes and environmental fees 

    Californians generally pay more for gas than in any other state — even when there aren't supply or demand issues — and that's due to taxes and environmental fees. The federal government charges an excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. States can implement additional taxes, and in California, they're higher than in any other state, totaling 66.98 cents, data from the American Petroleum Institute shows.

    The California gas taxes are made up of a combination of the following:

    —California gas excise tax: 51.10 cents per gallon—California sales tax: 2.25%—Underground storage tank fee: 2 cents per gallon

    —Local sales tax: about 1% on average

    Californians are also hit with more fees due to the state's cap-and-trade program (which puts a cap on greenhouse emissions and charges large emitters, including fuel wholesalers, for emitting excess carbon dioxide) and the low carbon fuel standard. Borenstein said these fluctuate and are currently at about 35 cents a gallon. 

    "Making California's cleaner burning gasoline costs a bit more, probably less than

  • .10 per gallon, but that varies by refinery and location," Borenstein wrote in an email for a previous story on SFGATE on why Californians pay more at the pump.

    He added, "The environmental programs are primarily intended to address greenhouse gas emissions, which has huge benefits, but they are dispersed across the globe. California has made a decision to be a leader on addressing climate change. I think the cost is worth it."

    Drivers select from various fuels priced near of above over .99 at a Shell gas station in Los Angeles in mid-November 2021.

    Drivers select from various fuels priced near of above over .99 at a Shell gas station in Los Angeles in mid-November 2021.

    Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

    California hits residents with 'mystery gasoline surcharge'

    Californians have been paying what Borenstein calls "a mystery gasoline surcharge" since 2015, which he calculates by finding the difference between California’s gas price and the average price in the rest of the country after subtracting the state’s higher taxes and environmental fees, as well as the cost of making cleaner-burning gasoline.  

    "These days that is adding about an extra

  • .30 per gallon," wrote Borenstein, who has written extensively about the mystery surcharge on the Energy Institute at Haas blog. "The Bay Area has fewer offbrand gas stations, which seem to be the factor that most effectively exerts downward pressure on prices. That may be because Bay Area residents are less willing to go out of their way to buy cheaper gasoline, though I have never seen convincing evidence on that."

    Borenstein wrote in a blog that the mystery charged appeared after an explosion at an ExxonMobile refinery in Torrance, Calif., in February 2015. Prices skyrocketed but never came back down. 

    "For the rest of the year, the mystery surcharge was about 48 cents a gallon," he wrote. "What was more disturbing was that it continued at unprecedented levels in 2016 (29 cents) and 2017 (27 cents), long after the Torrance refinery was back at full production."

Why Are California Gas Prices So High These Days? Thank ...
  • What is behind the rising gas prices?

    “Price cycling is common in MI, IN, OH, IL, WV, KY, FL and some metro markets like St. Louis, Kansas City, Atlanta, etc.,” De Haan tweeted. “Prices surge, then stations start undercutting, leading to a big spike then ebb.”
    Gas prices hit highest level since 2014 - what's behind the latest spike
  • Why does California pay more for gas?

    Notifying consumers that they’re being charged for using credit, both at the register and on the receipt. ...Charging customers only what they’re paying to the credit card payment networks in swipe fees (again, this is usually around 1%-3.5% of the cost of the transaction). ...Staying on the right side of state laws. ... More items...

    March 22, 2021 Tim Anaya

    Gas prices in California and across the country have been rising sharply since the start of the year.

    According to the Orange County Register, “the cost of an average gallon of gasoline has climbed to “the highest it’s been in 67 weeks.”

    As of March 17, average gas prices in California were .87 per gallon for regular unleaded, roughly

  • above the national average of .88, according to AAA.  This is nearly 40 cents higher than one month prior – and about 55 cents per gallon higher than California drivers paid at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

    So, why are we paying so much for gas all of a sudden?

    Some of the reason is supply and demand.  As Covid-19 restrictions are loosened and more people are driving, demand is up.  For example, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that “daily traffic on the seven toll bridges in the San Francisco Bay Area rose by an average of 13 percent in February compared with October.”

    AAA estimated that Americans were paying 14 percent higher for gas on average in March compared to February, citing Energy Information Administration data showing gas stocks declining while demand was increasing.

    Supplies also tightened due to refinery shutdowns from the winter storms that hit Texas hard in February. As Bloomberg noted, “though the West Coast has its own oil-refining hub, independent from the Gulf, both regions supply Arizona,” which relied more heavily on California for supply during the crisis.

    Refineries in Southern California were also down for periods in February and March for maintenance.  Phillips 66 had several units down in Los Angeles in February, and “Valero had long planned a shutdown at its Wilmington plant through March” says Bloomberg.

    Much of the reason we pay more for gas in California compared to everywhere else is government policy.

    As PRI’s Dr. Wayne Winegarden documented in his recent study, “Legislating Energy Prosperity,” California drivers paid a 37 percent premium for gasoline versus the national average thanks to big government energy policies.  If the state were to ease these mandates, we could collectively save .6 billion annually (compared to 2019 prices).

    A recently-released study from Stillwater Associates notes that “price increases due to taxes and fees are not insignificant,” and calculates the government gas taxes and fees add about

  • .19 per gallon to the price of fuel in the Golden State.

    These include the federal excise tax (18.3 cents per gallon), state excise tax (50.5 cents per gallon), sales tax applied to the price of gas plus excise tax (which is effectively double taxation), underground storage tank cleanup fee (2.0 cents per gallon), cap and trade costs (about 14.3 cents per gallon), and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (about 22.6 cents per gallon based on current prices).

    And for all the additional costs that Sacramento imposes on California drivers, the state’s big government mandates aren’t doing a terribly effective job in reducing emissions.  As Winegarden found in his research, states that have embraced market-based energy policies have been more effective in lowering emissions.  Nationwide, emissions have fallen 14 percent since 2007, versus just 9 percent in California.

    Prices could grow even higher in the coming weeks.  Traditionally, gas prices jump in the summer months as more people travel for summer vacations.  Expect to see even more traveling this year as things slowly return to normal and families are finally able to escape their homes.

    As gas prices threaten to pass soon, the question remains – what, if anything, will Sacramento do to reverse or reform the misguided policies that are adding to the energy burdens of millions in California’s poor, rural, inland, and minority communities?

    Tim Anaya is the Pacific Research Institute’s senior director of communications and the Sacramento office.

    Why gas prices in California are so much higher than ...
    Why California Gas Prices Are Especially High

    09-03-2022 · In 2008, the last major run-up in gas prices, the cost of a gallon in California reached .588. If you translate that into today’s dollars, it …

    09-03-2022
    ImageAn electrical contractor repairing a sign with gasoline fuel prices Tuesday at a Shell gas station in Los Angeles.
    An electrical contractor repairing a sign with gasoline fuel prices Tuesday at a Shell gas station in Los Angeles.Credit...Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    The price of gasoline in the United States reached a new high on Tuesday at .173 per gallon, surpassing the previous high set in July 2008.

    But, as you probably know, fuel costs in California have been climbing for weeks and are significantly above the national average. On Tuesday, the average cost of a gallon in the Golden State was .444, the highest in the nation, according to AAA.

    So why do we pay so much at the pump?

    Gas prices have been rising for months nationally because of soaring demand following Covid-19 shutdowns. Costs began to climb even more once Russia invaded Ukraine, and will most likely keep growing after President Biden’s decision on Tuesday to ban Russian oil imports.

    California is the only state where a gallon costs more than . In Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Napa and many other parts of the state, the average price of regular unleaded now exceeds .50.

    “It’s hitting my pocket big time,” Boualem Dehmas said this week as he filled up at a Chevron station in San Francisco, where regular gas cost .69.

    Dehmas, 52, is a self-employed limo driver supporting a wife and three children. How is he managing to survive the price increases? “God only knows,” he said.

    California’s high fuel prices are partly because of taxes as well as regulatory programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Together, they added about

    .27 to the cost of a gallon of gas last month, according to a calculation by the Western States Petroleum Association.

    About 40 percent of that cost comes from the state’s gasoline tax. California taxes fuel at 51.1 cents per gallon, the second-highest amount in the nation after Pennsylvania, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.

    A planned increase to that tax is set to take effect in July to keep up with inflation. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed halting the spike, but Democratic leaders have been reluctant to agree.

    In his State of the State address on Tuesday, Newsom also proposed a tax rebate to address rising gas prices. He said he was working with lawmakers on the plan “to put money back in the pockets of Californians.”

    Kevin Slagle, a spokesman with the petroleum association, based in Sacramento, said gas prices also tended to be higher here because the state was a “fuel island.”

    California produces enough gasoline to meet 30 percent of its needs, and the rest is imported from Alaska or other countries, he said. There are no interstate pipelines carrying gasoline into the state.

    That means that all imports must come by ship or truck, both of which are more costly. (If you’re wondering, California’s biggest foreign importers of crude oil are Ecuador, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to the California Energy Commission.)

    In the Bay Area, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, many lower-wage workers who commute long distances from more affordable areas are feeling the pinch.

    Manuel Garcia drives 92 miles every day from Sacramento to San Francisco for his job at a construction company. The price of filling up his truck has increased to 0 from .

    “If my company didn’t pay for my gas, I’d look somewhere else for work,” Garcia, 62, told The New York Times.

    Though the current prices are definitely high, they aren’t breaking records if you take into account inflation, writes Michael Hiltzik, a Los Angeles Times columnist.

    In 2008, the last major run-up in gas prices, the cost of a gallon in California reached .588. If you translate that into today’s dollars, it would be .83, far higher than the current price at the pump.

    Still, gas prices have an outsize impact on people’s perceptions of the economy, my colleagues reported. Fuel might account for only a small share of consumers’ overall spending, but the giant numbers posted alongside every highway in America hold plenty of sway.

    For more:

    Elizabeth Holmes’s ex-boyfriend hopes to escape the verdict she didn’t.

    Today’s tip comes from Jennifer Walters, who recommends Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco:

    “When looking for an escape hatch from endless Zooms and the four walls that contain you, restore your soul in San Francisco’s oasis, Mission Dolores Park. Carry your stroll on Steiner Street past the Painted Ladies and find a tropical jungle nestled among the rolling concrete hills.

    The dog Olympics are hosted every day at unannounced intervals, but more frequently on summer afternoons. During the pandemic, I would go and hope to see the same Border collie athlete. He sprints downhill, sending dirt clumps midair as he launches for the catch. Somehow — every time — he clinches the Frisbee just as it dives toward the ground. Crystal-eyed huskies wrestle in a torrent of black and white fur. Lap dogs lounge and sometimes wear more clothes than the humans.

    Mission Dolores Basilica peeks over the palm trees. Beneath, the statue of Miguel Hidalgo stares out across the lawn dotted with people — solo sunbathers, best friends, first dates, and strangers becoming less so. Here between these four walls — Church, 18th, Dolores, and 20th Streets — the world tilts with wonder.”

    Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

    Join The Times for a free online event tonight with two of the nation’s most prominent Covid-19 experts.

    Dr. Bob Wachter and Dr. Monica Gandhi, both at the University of California, San Francisco, have worked throughout the pandemic to explain the risks of Covid-19. And often, they have disagreed.

    See event details here.

    Thousands of miles of trails and bikeways thread the Bay Area, but many of them exist in piecemeal form. There are gaps and dead ends instead of a single, cohesive system.

    The Bay Area Trails Collaborative hopes to change that.

    The collaborative — a partnership of about 50 public agencies, land managers, bicycle coalitions and parks districts — recently released a master blueprint for linking the bay to the ridgetops and city streets to dirt hiking paths.

    The proposal is an ambitious 2,604-mile trail network extending across the Bay Area’s nine counties, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

    Jeff Knowles, volunteer co-chair of the collaborative’s communications and partnerships team, told the newspaper, “The vision is simple: Wherever you live, you can go out your front door and spend all day on trails.”

    Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

    P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Place for a contact (3 letters).

    Briana Scalia and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

    Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

    Expensive California Gas: Explained WHY?

    Reasons why gas is expensive in California: The biggest reason is the policy difference; vehicles in California have to abide by specific pollution rules. So you cannot get cleaner air out of a car that quickly. You need higher-quality fuel with additives to achieve that! Suppose you look at the national average of gas prices.

    If you want to call out something as unstable, then it would be the California Gas prices. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter which version of gasoline you want for your vehicle, and you will have to pay a premium along with the California tax(which is sky high). This article will walk you through why gas in California is more expensive than in other cities and why there is a higher gas tax in California. 

    Generally, the people in the Golden state are paying more for gas because of the higher gas tax. The 85 cents that constitute the gas tax is higher when compared to other states. However, even with the rising oil demand worldwide, Californian fuel is treated better with additives to ensure cleaner burning and fewer pollutants.

    Here are some of the main reasons why gas is expensive. Let’s get started, shall we,

    Reasons why gas is expensive in California:

    • The biggest reason is the policy difference; vehicles in California have to abide by specific pollution rules. So you cannot get cleaner air out of a car that quickly. You need higher-quality fuel with additives to achieve that!
    • Suppose you look at the national average of gas prices. Californians pay about 35% higher than everyone. But, to be honest, they are trained to pay more, and even if you charge 50% higher than the national average, they will.
    • One of the reasons is the loosening of the restrictions globally, which has resulted in a mass demand for crude oil, which was not expected even by the experts.
    • Many rules have been put into place in the crude oil reporting nations to make it more streamlined.
    • Elections are the other reasons why this happens so often in California. The change in power makes the crude oil companies drive the prices higher and higher rather than having a diplomatic business deal.
    • One of the other main reasons is the offline time that gas refineries take during March and April. It’s the downtime for most oil companies in California. This raises the costs of refining and transportation of gasoline due to delays.
    • California is a state with excellent natural resources which are not taken advantage of due to state policies.
    • When you ask the people about this, they will tell you that “the legislators and bureaucrats working in these sectors don’t have real-world experience.”
    • Accountability in the government is also an issue as everyone wants to blame it on inflation, which is also a nationwide problem.
    • Failed claims and policy reforms of politicians are another reason why gas is expensive in California and has never been appropriately regulated.
    • Everybody quotes senate bill 1, but it’s only part of the problem.

    California Gas Tax:

    When you take a closer look at the gas price, you can find that gas taxes are the primary reason why the prices are higher than in other states. you can check your gas price requirements for your next trip in our gas price calculator. Here is a chart that shows you the average during different periods in California.

    Year California Gas price(per gallon)California Gas tax(per gallon)
    2011.36

    .353
    2021.41

    .511

    When you look at the gas price since 1990, you can see that the periods with lower prices are during recessions. During regular times gasoline was more expensive compared to other states. The lines on the graph show that California had cheaper gas prices than other states for an extended period which is not valid. Most people think it’s true, but it isn’t! There has been a steady rise in fuel tax throughout these years which is not great for regular consumers.

    gas prices expensive in california

    Oil pipelines from countries like Canada and Mexico have been increasing due to their cheap production costs, which means less refined crude oil has to be imported from the middle east and Venezuela resulting in a decrease in refining costs for California refineries.

    Even though we can say that many of these policies have been put in place for the greater good, it has only made fuel expensive and more profitable for oil companies.

    There is no simple answer to this question, and if you do a lot of research, you will find that it’s not just one reason why gas prices are high. Instead, it’s a combination of many reasons, such as politics, refining costs, and distribution expenses.

    Everyone agrees that the California Gas tax needs to be lowered or reformed for better gas prices, but no one can agree on how it should be done.

    Will California gas prices drop?

    California gas prices will drop to the same level as any other state if the government would reform its policies to be less strict and more realistic.

    To quote, “all forms of energy are subsidized in one way or another”

    Governor Brown also agreed that California needs to get rid of its Gas tax, but he thinks it should be done gradually by reducing it by about 1% every year until 2025 when it reaches 10%.

    On the other hand, certain people think that this plan is insufficient to survive an economic crisis.

    Both sides agree on one thing, which is reforming the oil companies’ taxes. It’s a win-win for everyone involved since both consumers and oil companies benefit from these reforms. See why gas prices keep going up and what you can do about it.

    No one is sure what the future holds for California’s gasoline market, but we hope this information will help you understand why it is expensive. Hopefully, something good will come out of these reforms.

    Conclusion:

    California has the most strict environmental rules in place, which is why gasoline prices are high, but it’s only 1 of the reasons.

    Oil companies have been increasing their profits by transporting oil via pipelines from Canada to Mexico. Almost no one is regulating them, which means they can charge whatever amount they want.

    There are so many problems with California’s gas tax policy that no one can agree on reforming it. Finally, however, there is an agreement to reduce the current tax by 25%.

    I hope this article helped you understand why gas is so expensive in California.

    caagesf.org

    01-10-2021 · Why is gas price so high in California? California gasoline prices are generally higher and more variable than prices in other states because relatively few supply sources offer California’s unique blend of gasoline outside of the state. California’s reformulated gasoline program is more stringent than the federal government’s program. Which state has the most expensive gas? It’s the ...

    01-10-2021

    California gasoline prices are generally higher and more variable than prices in other states because relatively few supply sources offer California’s unique blend of gasoline outside of the state. California’s reformulated gasoline program is more stringent than the federal government’s program.

    Which state has the most expensive gas?

    It’s the most expensive daily average since August 2019. California has the highest average gas price, at .68 per gallon as of Monday, while Hawaii, Washington and Nevada are now above a -per-gallon average now as well.

    Why is gas so expensive in California Reddit?

    Selling and refining gasoline in California simply costs more than in other states. So far this year, California’s gas price has been about 80 cents a gallon above the average of all other states. Higher state gas taxes account for about 23 cents of the difference.

    What is the cheapest place in California to live?

    The 11 Cheapest Places to Live in California

    • Eureka.
    • Stockton.
    • Clovis.
    • Sacramento.
    • Chico.
    • Fontana.
    • Vacaville.
    • Oxnard.
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    How did California get so expensive?

    Land, Labor and Raw Material Costs Are Higher in California Than the Rest of the Country. And Those Costs Are Rising. Unfortunately, California’s coastline topography makes it more expensive to build here than most other places.

    Where is gas cheapest in the world?

    Here are the top ten countries with the cheapest gas prices, according to a Bloomberg report:

    • Venezuela.
    • Iran.
    • Kuwait.
    • Nigeria.
    • Egypt.
    • Malaysia.
    • Saudi Arabia.
    • The United Arab Emirates.

    Where is gas cheapest in the US?

    Hawaii tops the list. Missouri has the cheapest gas.

    What state has the lowest gas right now?

    Alaska, Missouri, and Mississippi have the lowest gas tax by state.

    Why is gas so cheap right now Reddit?

    The big reason given for the drop in prices is a combination of increased U.S. production, OPEC refusing to cut production, and weak global economic growth. One significant player is Saudi Arabia, the most influential member of OPEC.

    What is a livable salary in California?

    Living Wage Calculation for California

    1 ADULT 2 ADULTS (1 WORKING)
    0 Children 2 Children
    Living Wage .66 .83
    Poverty Wage .13 .60
    Minimum Wage .00 .00

    What is the safest city in California?

    California’s Safest Cities

    CA City Population
    1 Imperial 17976
    2 Hillsborough 11580
    3 Palos Verdes Estates 13559
    4 Truckee 16609

    Where is the cheapest and safest place to live in California?

    1. Oxnard. About an hour north of Los Angeles, Oxnard offers beachfront living at an affordable price. The median household income here is ,349 with median home value settling at 2,600, which is actually a great deal for California real estate.

    caagesf.org

    01-10-2021 · Why are gas prices so high in California 2020? LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Southern California is seeing higher prices at the pump. The rise in prices has to do with refinery trouble, the switch to summer-blend gas and the lifting of the state’s stay-at-home order, which increased demand by putting more people back on the roads.

    01-10-2021

    LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Southern California is seeing higher prices at the pump. The rise in prices has to do with refinery trouble, the switch to summer-blend gas and the lifting of the state’s stay-at-home order, which increased demand by putting more people back on the roads.

    Why is California so expensive?

    Well, it’s a relatively high-income state. So the average Joe can afford to spend more. The supply of housing hasn’t kept up with the demand. Strong environmental regulations are supported by the public but increase the cost for many things including housing, fuel and utilities.

    What was the highest gas price ever in California?

    The description of the photograph reads: “Gasoline prices over .00 per gallon are displayed at a Shell station June 23, 2008 in San Mateo, California. Gasoline prices continue to rise as the national average for regular unleaded is at a new record high of .10 per gallon.”

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    What state has the highest gas tax?

    Here are the states with the highest gas taxes – from highest to lowest:

    • Pennsylvania. Topping the list of states with the highest gas taxes is Pennsylvania at 77.10 cents per gallon, according to the numbers by the American Institute of Petroleum.
    • 2. California.
    • Washington.
    • Hawaii.
    • New York.
    • Indiana.
    • Florida.

    Which state has the most expensive gas?

    It’s the most expensive daily average since August 2019. California has the highest average gas price, at .68 per gallon as of Monday, while Hawaii, Washington and Nevada are now above a -per-gallon average now as well.

    Will California home prices drop?

    The 2020 figure is 4.5 percent lower compared with the pace of 397,960 homes sold in 2019. Sales have declined for the last three years. The California median home price is forecast to edge up 1.3 percent to 8,760 in 2021, following a projected 8.1 percent increase to 0,330 in 2020 from 2,450 in 2019.

    What is the cheapest city to live in California?

    7 cheapest places to live in California (that are actually cool)

    • Eureka.
    • Oxnard.
    • Redlands.
    • Chico.
    • Temecula.
    • Clovis.
    • Vacaville.

    Will house prices drop in 2020 California?

    Low Mortgage Rates Will (Somewhat) Help with the Affordability Issue. It’s true that increasing home prices will make buying a house in California even less affordable for many residents. Their mortgage rate forecast calls for an annual rate of 3.2% by the end of 2020, with rates dropping as low as 2.9% in 2021.

    What is the average price per gallon of gas in California?

    State Gas Price Averages

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    State Regular Mid-Grade
    California .845 .017
    Colorado .845 .152
    Connecticut .882 .145
    District of Columbia .036 .512

    What was the highest price of gas ever?

    The highest national average price of gas was .11 on July 17, 2008, according to AAA.

    What was the highest gas prices in US history?

    — — The average price for regular gasoline across the USA was a record .508 a gallon Monday, eclipsing the inflation-adjusted peak of .413 set in March 1981, when the average was

    .417, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    What state has the cheapest gas 2020?

    The average price of gas in the US is .584, but many states fall below the national average. The five cheapest states to get gas, as of January 6, 2020, are Mississippi, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

    Who has the cheapest gas in the US?

    ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Congrats Missourians, you’re home to the cheapest gas prices in the United States! According to a new report by AAA, the average gas price in the Show Me state right now is

    .84, which is the cheapest of any state. The next closest are Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

    Who has the lowest gas tax?

    You’ll find the lowest gas tax in Alaska at 13.77 cents per gallon, followed by Missouri (17.42 cpg) and Mississippi (18.79 cpg).

    Here's Why California Gas Prices Are Highest in the ...

    08-07-2021 · As for California, Blackmon is also spot on why we pay the highest-in-the-nation gas prices: California is a state that is rich in underground oil resources , but over the past two decades, the state government of California has pursued a policy agenda designed to inhibit drilling and production within its borders as part of an overall program to try to ratchet down emissions via command-and-control …

    08-07-2021

    The national gas price average increased 40% since the start of the year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). “Starting the year at .25 on January 1, average gas prices per gallon increased to .13 today.”

    Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

    And the prices are still going up. AAA says motorists can expect gas prices to increase another 10–20 cents through the end of August, bringing the national average well over .25 this summer.

    The national average is .131 per gallon as of Thursday; California’s average is .31 for regular grade gas – even higher than Hawaii’s gas price average at .04, and Hawaii has to import most everything, including gas.

    California’s medium unleaded gas sells for .50 per gallon on average. Gas in Mono County is .13 per gallon.

    At about a 47% difference from California, Texas has really low gas prices at .81 per gallon. Louisiana gas sells for .78. New Hampshire gas sells for .98. Our neighbor Oregon’s gas sells for .67 per gallon, and Nevada gas sells for .78 per gallon.

    California drivers all across the state are asking “Why are gas prices so high?”

    AAA gas prices map. (Photo: screen shot, AAA)

    David Blackmon, a Senior Contributor to Forbes reported, asking why California’s gas prices are so high is  just as important as asking why gas prices are rising, “since California is basically serving as the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country,” he said.

    “Finally, a third web search question high on the list this week is ‘Is America energy independent?’”

    Blackmon offers one of the best, concise, explanations gas prices are so high and still climbing noting there are several factors at play here that all have had an impact since last November:

    AAA gas prices map. (Photo: screen shot, AAA)
    1. The loosening of COVID restrictions globally in recent months has led to a rapid recovery in global demand for crude oil that has exceeded the expectations of all of the “experts” on the subject, leading to a tightening of global crude markets;
    2. Strong discipline among the OPEC nations related to their agreement to limit exports has also played a major role in tightening the relationship between global supply and demand;
    3. The U.S. election has also obviously played a big role here. Since last November 3, the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. has skyrocketed by 75 cents. The markets clearly see the Biden/Harris administration as one that will work to inhibit U.S. oil production, which will also have the effect of tightening the global market, and traders have responded by driving up the price of crude oil;
    4. Refinery maintenance and the changeover to summer gasoline blends. This is a factor that I tend to write about every year at this time. Gas prices have continued to rise even as crude prices have dropped over the past week mainly due to the fact that March and April are the time of year in which many U.S. refineries are taken offline for annual maintenance and all refiners are switching from manufacturing a handful of winter blends of gasoline to the dozens of summer blends required by the EPA. This changeover invariably raises the costs of both refining and transportation of gasoline, and that is always worked into gas prices during these months.

    Gas Buddy explains the summer blends: “March-April refineries begin to produce summer gasoline blends. More than 14 different blends are produced during this period, due to different state regulations for reformulated gasoline and Reid vapor pressure requirements. May 1: Fuel terminals are required to sell only summer gasoline on May 1, while gas stations have until June 1 to complete the changeover to summer gasoline. The switch from winter to summer gasoline is one of the major factors behind seasonal fuel price increases in May.”

    Gas Buddy summer blend map. (Photo: GasBuddy.com)

    As for California, Blackmon is also spot on why we pay the highest-in-the-nation gas prices:

    California is a state that is rich in underground oil resources, but over the past two decades, the state government of California has pursued a policy agenda designed to inhibit drilling and production within its borders as part of an overall program to try to ratchet down emissions via command-and-control regulations. In more recent years, the state government has implemented emissions regulations that far exceed current federal regulation and implemented mandates requiring a rapid phasing-out of gas-powered cars and replacing them with electric vehicles (EVs).

    Boom. This is why elections matter.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
    Why gas prices are so high in California

    22-11-2021 · Why gas prices are so high in California One in five Californians is expected to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving By Soumya Karlamangla • November 22, 2021 9:30 am - …

    22-11-2021

    New York Times

    For so many of us, the upcoming holiday season offers a moment of normalcy in what has been a long and lonely pandemic.

    With the protection of COVID-19 vaccines, extended families are planning to reunite after being apart for months, if not years. Couples are meeting their in-laws for the first time, as well as their siblings’ new babies.

    One in five Californians is expected to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, a major jump from the depths of the pandemic last year, according to American Automobile Association.

    But over the past few weeks, those dreamy itineraries have been complicated by soaring fuel prices.

    In California, the average cost of a gallon of gas is .71, the highest in the nation. A few weeks ago, the prices here broke a record that was set in 2012 and have only continued to inch up since.

    The coronavirus deserves much of the blame. Gas production fell when demand plummeted last year amid stay-at-home orders, and it has not caught up as commuters and tourists return.

    Nationwide, the average cost of a gallon of fuel is .41, compared with .11 at the same time last year. In other words, our much-anticipated road trips have gotten roughly 50% more expensive.

    Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story about Americans who are canceling vacations and rejiggering their budgets to cope with pain at the pump.

    Kellen Browning, a New York Times reporter based in San Francisco, interviewed drivers in the city’s NoPa neighborhood who were lined up at an Arco charging .49 a gallon. In other parts of the city, prices have reached as high as .85.

    Bay Area residents told Browning they had started targeting certain gas stations to try to save a few bucks, or filled up small amounts at a time to soften the blow to their bank accounts.

    Browning himself avoids filling gas in The City when he can. He knows there are cheaper stations along I-80 on the way to Davis, where he often travels to visit his family.

    “I try to time it so that my tank is close to empty near one of those places,” he said. “When my colleagues on the East Coast were reporting on people’s frustration with gas prices that were between .50 and , that sounded like an absolute steal.”

    Last week, President Joe Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil and gas companies were engaging in “illegal conduct” that was driving up prices.

    On Tuesday, working in concert with five other countries, Biden ordered the release of oil from the nation’s emergency stockpile, according to senior administration officials.

    The U.S. will tap into 50 million barrels of crude in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Britain, China, India, Japan and Korea will also open up their oil reserves in an effort to combat soaring global prices on oil.

    The decision was a way for the president to show the administration’s focus on rising gas prices, which have stoked anxiety among Americans amid declining approval numbers for the administration.

    But it remains unclear if it will have much impact on the price of oil. Traders had been expecting a larger release of as much as 100 million barrels, said Richard Bronze, head of geopolitics at Energy Aspects, a market research firm in London.

    Here in California, hefty taxes have long made gas prices the highest in the nation. But fuel got even more expensive after an atmospheric storm pummeled Northern California last month.

    The heavy rains inundated oil refineries with water, which affected gas production in the region, The Los Angeles Times reported. The subsequent cost increases then trickled south to the rest of the state.

    Browning said some Californians he spoke to said the high gas prices had made them more willing to buy electric cars. Others said it had persuaded them to do all their holiday shopping online.

    Some blamed Gov. Gavin Newsom, OPEC, inflation or Biden for their significantly lighter wallets after filling up their tanks.

    “But overall, I would say the theme was a general resigned frustration and confusion about why they had to pay so much,” Browning said. “At this point, if I can find gas under .50 per gallon, I think of it as a good deal, sadly.”

    Soumya Karlamangla, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Stanley Reed contributed to this article.

    Why Are Gas Prices Still So High in California ...

    24-03-2022 · While the other 49 states pay an average of .236 a gallon, according to AAA — admittedly, close to the all-time high — the average price in California is .882 as of March 24. In cities like Los Angeles, prices at the pump have already pushed above the once unimaginable a gallon mark. Alongside general economic pressures such as rising inflation, high gas prices …

    24-03-2022
    A woman inserting a gas pump nozzle at a gas station stock photo
    Extreme Media / iStock.com

    Californians don’t want to hear about how much you have to pay for gas if you’re a non-resident. While the other 49 states pay an average of .236 a gallon, according to AAA — admittedly, close to the all-time high — the average price in California is .882 as of March 24. In cities like Los Angeles, prices at the pump have already pushed above the once unimaginable a gallon mark. Alongside general economic pressures such as rising inflation, high gas prices have become a common conversation piece for many.

    See: How Much Does the President Control Gas Prices?
    Find: More Than Half of Americans Are Driving Less Due to Rising Gas Prices: Here Are 5 More Ways To Save

    The state with the second-highest price is Nevada at .178 a gallon, which is still 70 cents cheaper than across the state line in California. Even more disturbing for California drivers: While much of the rest of the country has seen a slight easing of gas prices over the past week, the price in California keeps moving higher.

    The current California average of .882 a gallon is up from .875 a day ago and .785 a week ago. In contrast, the current national average of .236 a gallon is down from .237 a day ago and .289 a week ago.

    So what gives in the Golden State? One problem came in the form of a recent power outage at a major refinery in Torrance, which put even more pressure on a fuel market that was already tight to begin with.

    “This is not a planned maintenance issue — it could take two to four weeks for a refinery to return to full capacity,” Doug Shupe, spokesperson for the Auto Club of Southern California, told CNN. “We know drivers are frustrated by it, especially when they’re dealing with higher prices in the rest of their lives.”

    The loss of even one refinery out west can send prices soaring because of a regional decline in capacity over the past few years. As CNN noted, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that refining capacity in western states at the end of 2021 was 12% lower than two years earlier, before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Capacity in 2021 was down 22% since the end of 2007.

    Some refineries have been forced to closed for economic reasons, while others are being converted to facilities that can process renewable fuels. The latter is what happened to the Marathon Petroleum refinery in the Bay Area, which stopped refining petroleum products in 2020 and will soon reopen as a renewable diesel refinery.

    Learn: Oil Prices Drop Below 0 — Will Gas Prices Decrease Too?
    Explore: Gas Prices 101: What Is a Fuel Surcharge as Uber and Lyft Implement Change?

    Meanwhile, tougher environmental rules have made some oil companies hesitant to invest in new West Coast refineries.

    “The West Coast is pretty challenging right now,” Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, told CNN. “They could use a little more refining capacity or a little less demand.”

    More From GOBankingRates

    Why gas is so much more expensive in California than in ...

    22-04-2022 · 1 day ago · As of Friday, California has clocked the highest prices at the pump, while Texas has seen some of the lowest. Californians are paying about more for a gallon of gas than Texans — .68 and ...

    22-04-2022

    Gas prices are soaring across the country, but drivers are paying more to fill up tanks depending on their state and area code.

    As of Friday, California has clocked the highest prices at the pump, while Texas has seen some of the lowest.

    Californians are paying about more for a gallon of gas than Texans — .68 and .78, respectively — according to transportation company AAA.

    Here is why gas prices are so much higher in the Golden State compared to the Lone Star State:

    Oil production

    The West Coast has notoriously high gas prices in part because the region is considered a fuel island.

    California is cut off by the Rockies mountain range from the oil market in the east. The state instead relies on international imports via the Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

    California imports more than 70 percent of its crude oil supply, mostly from foreign sources, according to the Western States Petroleum Association. The state has about 14 of its own refineries, but in-state oil production decreased 27.9 percent in the last decade.

    By contrast, Texas is the largest oil producing state in the country, producing more than 4 million barrels of oil a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    Texas leads the nation in oil refining and has 31 petroleum refineries across the state, according to the DOE. More than one-fourth of the nation’s 100 largest oil fields are located in Texas, and the state hosts one-third of the U.S. total refining capacity.

    Texas is also well-connected to the rest of the country.

    Among oil-producing states, California actually ranks seventh, producing 341,000 barrels of oil a day. But the DOE reports the state’s crude oil production has steadily declined since 1985.

    Gas taxes

    Texas has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country compared to California, which has the second highest in the U.S.

    The gasoline tax in California is about 51 cents, according to a January report from the Federation of Tax Administrators.

    California raised its gas tax last summer to combat high inflation. Lawmakers also raised the state’s gas tax by 12 cents in 2017 to pay for infrastructure, environmental projects and upkeep.

    In Texas, the gasoline tax is 20 cents, one of the lowest in country.

    Texas has kept its low gas tax at the same price since 1991, according to the state comptroller’s office, which noted that most Texans would not support an increase in motor fuel taxes.

    California also has the Cap-and-Trade Program, which contributes to the state’s high prices at the pump, according to Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy.

    The program, designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions, covers about 85 percent of the state’s emissions, or about 450 energy companies across the California.

    Greenhouse gas emitters whose products emit above the state limit have to purchase credits, and this cost trickles down to consumers, equating to a roughly 20 cents per gallon increase for residents.

    “Oil companies have no ability to absorb the cost, which is tremendous,” De Haan told The Hill. “So it’s funneled down to the consumer.”

    California also uses more cleaner-burning fuel, which can be harder and more expensive to get in times of increased demand.

    To meet cleaner emission standards, California requires motorists use a special blend of motor gasoline called California Reformulated Gasoline.

    That can lead to issues when the state needs to outsource, according to the DOE.

     “It can take several weeks to find and bring replacement motor gasoline from overseas that meets California’s unique specifications,” the department says.

    By contrast, Texas uses a more conventional gasoline type which is less expensive, said De Haan.

    “There are fewer refineries in California to produce the required gasoline,” he said. “The difference is that Texas has many refineries in their backyard … and there is more infrastructure to produce the fuel, so costs are generally lower.”

    getjerry.com

    According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in California is .696 as of April 2022. That’s more than

    .50 more than the national average of .114/gal . If you’re going for anything other than regular unleaded at the pump, you’re looking at an even higher price. Here’s how the price of gas in California breaks down by grade:

    • How to Deal with Rising Gas Prices in California
    Jerry partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more baout how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference out data methodology, or view a list of our partners
    The current price of gas in California is the highest of any state in the nation. Experts say that’s due to rapid shifts in the global economy along with long commute times, high gas taxes, and strict emissions regulations in the Golden State
    When President Biden announced a ban on Russian gas and oil imports on March 8, 2022, drivers across the nation saw a sudden jump in already-high gas prices. With demand up and supply drastically diminished following the height of the COVID-19, the US gas industry is in a moment of crisis—and that crisis is especially severe in California. 
    That’s why Jerry, the #1 rated car insurance app and the only super app for car owners, has created a guide to California’s skyrocketing gas prices. We’ll go over what experts have to say along with some tips to save money on car-related expenses. 
    According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in California is .696 as of April 2022. That’s more than

    .50 more than the national average of .114/gal
    If you’re going for anything other than regular unleaded at the pump, you’re looking at an even higher price. Here’s how the price of gas in California breaks down by grade: 
    If you’ve got a truck with a diesel engine or a car that relies on premium fuel, those numbers might look scary. 
    Of course, those averages aren’t equal across the whole state—and California is a big state! San Luis Obispo, along with Atascadero and Paso Robles, holds the dubious distinction of California’s highest gas prices: .890/gal for regular gas, and as high as .567/gal for diesel. 
    You’ll find lower prices on average in Northern California and the Central Valley, with averages in Glenn and Sierra Counties as low as .257/gal and .359/gal, respectively. 
    Why are gas prices so high in California, while drivers in Georgia and Texas pay as little as .75/gal? 
    As it turns out, there are a lot of answers to that question. For one thing, California has some of the highest emissions regulations in the country—great news for the environment, but terrible news when it’s time to fill up the tank. Those emissions regulations, along with unusually steep gas taxes, keep the cost of a gallon higher in the Golden State than elsewhere in the country. 
    California is also what Kevin Slagle, Vice President of Strategic Communications for the Western States Petrol Association, calls a “fuel island.” That means that, unlike most other states, California has no interstate pipelines bringing crude oil across state lines. Cut off from the resources other states enjoy, California pays the price at the pump
    Finally, Californians are dealing with a problem of scale. The state’s residents own more cars than any other state, with 14.2 million vehicles registered in the state as of 2019. Californians are also notorious for enduring long commute times, well beyond the national average of 26.4 minutes. Of the 10 US cities with the longest average commute times, four are in California: 
    • Palmdale: 85.4 min average round-trip commute; 35% of population commutes over two hours per day
    • Corona: 73.4 min average round-trip commute; 23.6% of population commutes over two hours per day
    • Santa Clarita: 69.8 min average round-trip commute; 19.7% of population commutes over two hours per day
    • Moreno Valley: 68.6 min average round-trip commute; 17.1% of population commutes over two hours per day
    Those power commutes and those millions of cars drive up demand for gas—and with it, fuel costs. Even apart from the unexpected highs and lows of the post-pandemic global economy, California’s in a world of its own when it comes to gas prices. 
    So what’s the solution? Should you throw up your hands and move out of California, or resign yourself to pouring thousands of your hard-earned dollars down your car’s gas port? 
    Not necessarily. California’s gas prices might be intimidating, but there are ways to manage the burden high fuel costs can put on your budget. Follow these simple money hacks, and you can adapt to the spikes in California gas prices. 
    • Stay on top of maintenance: When you’re paying to just to fill up the tank, you might be tempted to skip that oil change. Don’t. Keeping up with your car’s regular maintenance tasks can prevent bigger expenses down the road. 
    • Learn some DIY car repair skills: For big problems like a failing transmission or broken fuel pump, it’s best to go to a professional. But learning to change your air filters and wiper blades, flush your radiator fluid, and replace your spark plugs could reduce your ownership expenses. 
    • Refinance your car loan: Loan payments are one of the biggest monthly expenses for most car owners, but you can reduce them by refinancing your loan with a new lender. Not sure how to start? Jerry offers refinance services to users who shop for insurance in the app! 
    • Go electric: California may have the nation’s highest gas prices, but its electric vehicle infrastructure is among the best in the country—and you could get up to ,000 in incentives if you buy a new electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. 
    • Switch insurance companies: Insurance rates shift just like gas prices. That’s why experts recommend shopping for a new car insurance policy every six months—and with help from Jerry, it could take just 45 seconds!  
    If California gas prices have your bank account gasping for air, there’s a solution—lots of them. Two of the fastest are shopping for car insurance and refinancing your auto loan with Jerry. 
    Jerry’s more than a personal insurance shopper and more than a refinance broker. It’s the world’s first super app for car owners and the hero Californians need at the pump. In just 45 seconds, you could find a new low insurance premium from one of the country’s top providers. Refinancing your auto loan with Jerry is almost as quick! 
    In the end, it’s the savings that matter, and they’re solid: on average, Jerry users save over 0 a year on car insurance alone. 
    “Jerry quoted me a price that saved me almost 00 a year in California! I definitely recommend Jerry.” —Patricia B.
    Published on Apr 29, 2022

    pacificresearch.org

    14-10-2019 · Once again, angry California drivers are asking why they are paying so much more per gallon of gas than drivers in other states? Yes, as AAA notes, some of the answer is explained by supply and demand. They point to issues with a Chevron refinery in El Segundo and a shutdown at a Shell refinery in Martinez, as well as complications from PG&E’s blackouts shutting down some gas stations that are …

    14-10-2019

    October 14, 2019 Tim Anaya

    Benjamin Franklin was right that “nothing is certain but death and taxes,” though he could have added a third certainty in California – paying significantly more than the national average for gasoline.

    California drivers are living a real life version of the movie “Groundhog Day”, more than per gallon for gasoline.

    According to AAA, the average gas price in California was .18 per gallon as of October 7.  They note that the Golden State experienced a 16 cent per gallon jump in just one week.

    In contrast, the national gas price average was .65 per gallon, which represents a spike of 9 cents per gallon over the previous month, but is 26 cents per gallon cheaper than the national average price in October 2018, according to AAA.

    Once again, angry California drivers are asking why they are paying so much more per gallon of gas than drivers in other states?

    Yes, as AAA notes, some of the answer is explained by supply and demand.  They point to issues with a Chevron refinery in El Segundo and a shutdown at a Shell refinery in Martinez, as well as complications from PG&E’s blackouts shutting down some gas stations that are unable to pump gas without electricity.

    But the real reason we’re paying so much more is high taxes and expensive regulations imposed by Sacramento politicians.

    According to the American Petroleum Institute, Californians now pay 80.45 cents per gallon in total federal and state gasoline taxes (including federal and state excise taxes).  The price increased by 5.6 cents per gallon on July 1 thanks to another gas tax increase courtesy Senate Bill 1, the billion gas tax increase enacted by the Legislature in 2017.

    In yet another ranking where number one is not a good thing, Californians now pay the highest combined state and federal gasoline taxes in the nation.

    But that’s not all.  State government regulations on oil production in California have added even more to the price of gasoline paid by Golden State drivers.

    Adopted as part of California’s efforts to address global warming, the state’s low carbon fuel standard currently adds around 16 cents per gallon to the price of gas.  And these costs will increase.  A December 2018 report by California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s office predicts that the low carbon fuel standard will increase to approximately 46 cents per gallon by the year 2030.

    Separately, the controversial cap-and-trade program, which was extended by the State Legislature in 2017, is estimated to add about 13 cents per gallon presently to the price of gas, according to the Legislative Analyst’s office.  This too is expected to increase in the coming years.

    So, the next time you have to dig deep into your wallets to fill up, remember that you have Sacramento to thank for adding to the misery that we’re all experiencing just to buy the gas we need to drive to work or school.

    Tim Anaya is the Pacific Research Institute’s communications director.

    Here’s Why Gasoline Prices Are High And Going Higher

    24-03-2021 · Gasoline prices are indeed high and destined to go higher, for a variety of reasons. Everyone would be well-advised to plan accordingly.

    24-03-2021

    ‘Why are gas prices so high?’ That’s a web search question leading readers to my pages this morning, along with another asking ‘why are gas prices so high in California?’ That second one is just as important as the first, since California is basically serving as the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.

    Finally, a third web search question high on the list this week is ‘Is America energy independent?’ The answers to all of these questions are all intertwined with one another. Let’s examine why.

    First, why are prices at the pump so high in general? There are several factors at play here that all have had an impact since last November:

    1. The loosening of COVID restrictions globally in recent months has led to a rapid recovery in global demand for crude oil that has exceeded the expectations of all of the “experts” on the subject, leading to a tightening of global crude markets;
    2. Strong discipline among the OPEC nations related to their agreement to limit exports has also played a major role in tightening the relationship between global supply and demand;
    3. The U.S. election has also obviously played a big role here. Since last November 3, the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. has skyrocketed by 75 cents. The markets clearly see the Biden/Harris administration as one that will work to inhibit U.S. oil production, which will also have the effect of tightening the global market, and traders have responded by driving up the price of crude oil;
    4. Refinery maintenance and the changeover to summer gasoline blends. This is a factor that I tend to write about every year at this time. Gas prices have continued to rise even as crude prices have dropped over the past week mainly due to the fact that March and April are the time of year in which many U.S. refineries are taken offline for annual maintenance and all refiners are switching from manufacturing a handful of winter blends of gasoline to the dozens of summer blends required by the EPA. This changeover invariably raises the costs of both refining and transportation of gasoline, and that is always worked into gas prices during these months.

    To sum up: We’ve seen a confluence of factors since November that have driven up the price for crude oil now combined with the higher costs associated with the annual conversion over to summer blends of gasoline. Since gas prices at the pump tend to follow the price of crude on almost a linear basis, none of this is really surprising.

    But what about California? According to AAA, the current average price for regular in the Golden State stands at .885 per gallon, while in Texas it is .626, about a 47% difference. This differential is almost entirely due to politics around climate change.

    California is a state that is rich in underground oil resources, but over the past two decades, the state government of California has pursued a policy agenda designed to inhibit drilling and production within its borders as part of an overall program to try to ratchet down emissions via command-and-control regulations. In more recent years, the state government has implemented emissions regulations that far exceed current federal regulation and implemented mandates requiring a rapid phasing-out of gas-powered cars and replacing them with electric vehicles (EVs).

    Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver look out into the crowd of supporters ... [ ] during his victory celebration Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Schwarzenegger defeated Democrat Phil Angelides to claim a second term, capping a yearlong comeback. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    These policy choices have very predictably led to higher gasoline costs and higher costs for gasoline powered cars in California. As I detailed in yesterday’s piece, the Biden/Harris administration is now aggressively pursuing the same kinds of policy choices at the national level, with the help of congressional Democrats. Thus, California essentially serves as the proverbial canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.

    Finally, is America energy independent? The clear answer to that is no: The U.S. is not now and has never really been energy independent in modern times. The goal most presidential administrations have pursued has been to enhance the country’s “energy security” by making it less reliant on imports of crude oil from other nations.

    However, the policy choices being pursued by President Biden and congressional Democrats will inevitably serve to weaken America’s state of energy security as they are implemented and serve to inhibit U.S. oil production. This is a conscious choice being made as part of the effort to speed up the energy transition.

    The Estrella, a crude oil tanker operated by Lundqvist Rederierna AB, left, and Nansen Spirit, a ... [ ] crude oil tanker operated by Teekay Corp., transfer oil between them off the coast of Southwold, U.K., on Friday, May 15, 2020. Nine tankers carrying about 5.58 million barrels of North Sea crude that loaded in April are floating off U.K. ports, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

    © 2020 Bloomberg Finance LP

    The U.S. had arguably achieved its highest level of energy security in half a century across the first three years of the Trump administration, thanks to massive increases in production from shale formations around the country. But the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting crash in domestic oil production last year did great harm to that dynamic, and the new policies being put into place by the current administration will serve to dampen any potential recovery.

    President Biden’s Day 1 executive orders to cancel the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and suspend the program for oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters were just initial shots across the bow. His order to raise the estimate for the “social cost of carbon” by over 700% will inevitably result in regulatory actions that will raise the cost of producing oil in the U.S., as will the coming effort by the Biden EPA to convince the courts to allow it to regulate carbon as a “criteria pollutant,” a topic I’ll address in more detail in the coming days.

    All of these actions and more to come will increase the costs of not just oil and gasoline, but all forms of non-renewable energy for consumers, will make the country increasingly reliant on foreign oil imports and thus will render the country less energy secure than before. These outcomes are entirely predictable and are in fact features of the Biden/Harris plan, which is in part designed to make EVs and renewables more competitive by raising the cost of fossil fuels and other more traditional forms of energy. That’s not a value judgement: it’s just reality.

    So, gasoline prices are indeed high and destined to go higher, for a variety of reasons. Everyone would be well-advised to plan accordingly.

    Why is a gas station in California charging .60 per gallon?

    21-10-2021 · Because there's so little competition for gasoline, the station can charge much higher prices than the rest of the state. AAA reports that the average cost of gas in Monterey County, California is ...

    21-10-2021

    It's no secret that gas prices are on the rise. According to AAA, the nationwide average of .37 for a gallon of gas is about

    .20 higher than it was at this time a year ago.

    But while Americans across the country are paying more at the pump these days, it's unlikely that they're paying more than motorists in Gorda, California.

    KFSN-TV in Fresno, California, reports that gas prices in Gorda recently reached nearly .60 a gallon, with prices for premium gas going for .50 a gallon.

    At .53 a gallon, it's true that gas prices in California are higher than the national average. But the exorbitant prices in Gorda are far from the norm in the state.

    Gorda and its lone gas station are notorious for posting high gas prices. In July 2019, KSBW-TV in Salinas, California, says the AmeriCo Gas station in the town charged .75 for a single gallon of gas.

    According to KSBW, the small town of Gorda is located off Highway 1 on the California coast. It's a rural region bound by the Pacific Ocean directly to the west and the mountains of the Southern Coast Ranges directly to the east, with little room in between to build any infrastructure.

    As a result, the AmeriCo gas station in Gorda is one of the few places to fuel up in that particular stretch of Highway 1. According to KSBW, the closest gas station north of Gorda is 40 miles away, and the nearest station headed south is 12 miles away.

    Because there's so little competition for gasoline, the station can charge much higher prices than the rest of the state.

    AAA reports that the average cost of gas in Monterey County, California is .06 — lower than the state average.

    While the rest of the country likely won't be paying Gorda's prices any time soon, AAA reported earlier this week that gas prices are still on the rise. The agency says that prices are up because of the high costs of crude oil as well as falling domestic gasoline supply levels.

    Why Are Gas Prices So High in California? Part I

    14-02-2016 · California drivers paid a whopping .4 billion more for gasoline in 2015 than the US average. Wow. Why is this so? The reason frequently given is the state’s higher taxes and strict environmental regulations drive gas prices higher. California requires the world’s cleanest burning gasoline, which is more expensive to refine.

    14-02-2016

    Gas is cheap these days. Since 2014, the average price of a gallon of gas in the US has been cut in half to

    .70 and is headed still lower.

    Except in California. A gallon of gas is .42 on average here. That’s more than 70 cents above the US average.

    People in California are so used to paying more that this is seen as good news. Gas prices topped in Los Angeles in the summer of 2015.  So Californians are celebrating, not realizing that they are still paying more than the rest of the country.

    Expensive is now normal in California. In 2015, a gallon of gas sold at the pump cost 70 cents above the U.S. average, according to the California Energy Commission. And for the month of January 2016, gas prices were 80.1 cents above the national average. That’s huge.

    Gordon_Schremp_presentation

    A difference of 70 cents may not sound like much, but multiply that by the 14.9 billion gallons of gasoline consumed in 2015 by drivers in the nation’s most populous state.

    The number gets a lot bigger.

    California drivers paid a whopping .4 billion more for gasoline in 2015 than the US average. Wow.

    Why is this so? The reason frequently given is the state’s higher taxes and strict environmental regulations drive gas prices higher.

    1. California requires the world’s cleanest burning gasoline, which is more expensive to refine. Cost: 10-15 cents more per gallon.
    2. Anti global warming regulations add a pollution tax on refineries. Cost: 10-15 cents more per gallon.
    3. Gas taxes are higher in California. Cost in 2016: 10-15 cents.

    So taking the low and high of these estimates (which like most of the information used in this post come testimony before a state panel) we get either 10 10 10 or 30 cents or at the high end, 15 15 15 or 45 cents. That accounts for less than half to two-thirds of the 70 cent-per-gallon difference between the average U.S. gas price and California’s.

    Where does the other 25-40 cents go?

    This, it turns out, is a vexing question, one that a state panel, the Petroleum Market Advisory Committee, has been trying for two years to answer.

    Simply put, there isn’t enough gas supply to meet demand, especially in Southern California where most of the state’s population lives. That drives the average price of a gallon of gas higher.

    In a properly functioning market economy, scarcity of gasoline, a widely available commodity, should serve as a signal to competitors. There’s money to be made selling gas in California! Competitors arrive with gas to sell. The supply increases until prices gradually fall back to normal.

    But that’s not happening. Gas isn’t pouring into California, so prices remain stubbornly high.

    The reason why is a bit surprising: A lot of it has to do with geography.

    In old 16th and 17th European maps California was depicted as an island. In terms of gasoline, California is an island.

    Almost all of California’s gasoline supply is produced inside the state by 13 refineries. And this put the state’s drivers at a major competitive disadvantage.

    When everything is working smoothly, these refineries can supply enough gas to meet demand. In fact, California exports gasoline to Nevada and Arizona.

    However, things don’t always work smoothly. Refineries break down or catch fire and the sudden shortage can cause prices to shoot up.

    Gas prices have remained persistently high in Southern California since an explosion shut down Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery in 2015. The Torrance refinery produced somewhere around 10 percent of the state’s gasoline supply.

    la-me-ln-exxon-mobil-refinery-blast-20150223

    An explosion at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance in February 2015 has resulted in higher prices in Southern California. (Courtesy LA Times).

    Outside California, when refineries hut down for routine maintenance or unplanned outages, drivers often don’t even realize it. Other refineries quickly make up the difference.

    Take Florida. While California produces all its own gasoline, Florida is the opposite extreme. Florida has zero refineries. It is totally dependent on imported gas. So what does gas cost there?

    .75, a few pennies the national average.

    Like most of the country, Florida gets its gasoline via pipeline from the Gulf region. The U.S. Gulf region is a giant gas exporting machine. Texas and Louisiana together account for half of the gasoline refining capacity for all of the United States.

    Pipelines can move gas from Texas as far away as New York, but they don’t reach California. (Exactly why this is so is unclear, since a Gulf pipeline could reach Los Angeles through Arizona and New Mexico.)

    Pipelines do link California to Nevada and Arizona, but the gas flows only in one direction: out of the state. Gas flows from the Bay Area to Northern Nevada and from Southern California to Las Vegas and Arizona.

    If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that the arrows all point east. Also note there are no pipelines linking Northern and Southern California. This is another big problem.

    Petroleum.png

    Well, can’t ships bring gas to California to alleviate shortages?  Why not ship gas from the Gulf to California in times of shortage?

    California’s geography works against it. Outside California, there are only a few refineries  in the world that produce gas known as CARB that meets the state’s strict standards. They are all far away.

    The closest refinery that produces CARB gas is in the Gulf. It takes 10 days for a tanker from the Gulf to pass through the Panama Canal and reach California.

    Due to a quirk of US law, it’s actually more expensive to ship gas to California from the Gulf than from refineries in Asia, even though the voyage from Asia is twice as long. It costs per barrel to ship gas from the Gulf Coast to Los Angeles vs 6 a barrel from Asia.

    Under a law known as the Jones Act, ships that sail from one U.S. port to another must be made in the USA and at least 75 percent of the crew has to be American citizens. There are very few Jones Act ships left.

    It’s so hard to find a Jones Act ship that gas cannot easily move around even inside California. As noted earlier, there are no gasoline pipelines linking Northern California with Southern California.

    At a hearing this month before the Petroleum Advisory Market Committee, an industry analyst noted that gas was 30 cents cheaper recently in Northern California than Southern California. But there was no way to move the gas south.

    Few ships and no pipelines mean California’s gas market is isolated from the rest of the country. And this is the real reason why gas is much more expensive in California than the rest of the country.

    We here in the Golden State are totally dependent on in-state refineries.

    That doesn’t sit well with some people.

    This concentration of power has given rise to charges that refiners are using market power to drive prices — and their profits — higher. We’ll take a look at this in our next post.

    California town charges almost  a gallon as gas prices ...

    22-10-2021 · Why gas prices in California are so much higher than elsewhere in U.S. Californians are used to gyrating gas prices, but the latest swing from the lowest in years to nearly a dollar above the ...

    22-10-2021

    It’s not your imagination. California, like the rest of the nation, is paying more at the pump.

    Prices are so high — and consumers are so perplexed — that a Google search of “Why are gas prices going up?” has spiked this month. Likewise, people are pleading: “When are gas prices going down?” which has also been trending on Google.

    The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is .54 in California, which is about

    .16 higher than the national average, according to data from AAA.

    But one bold station along the Big Sur coast was charging .59 a gallon for regular unleaded this week and nearly .50 for premium.

    The Gorda by the Sea Mini Mart, situated along a remote stretch of Highway 1 in Monterey County, warns: “Next gas 40 miles north, 12 miles south.”

    Gas at the Gorda by the Sea Mini Mart in Big Sur was .59 per gallon this week.
    Gas at the Gorda by the Sea Mini Mart in Big Sur was .59 a gallon this week. The remote station boasts a sign that reads, “Next gas 40 miles north, 12 miles south.”

    Though the sticker shock at Gorda’s pumps has garnered national attention, experts say those prices are an anomaly.

    “99.9% of motorists are not buying gasoline over ,” UC Berkeley energy economist Severin Borenstein said.

    Still, prices have been continually increasing across the state. On Friday, the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose for the 11th consecutive day, the largest week-to-week increase since March.

    And prices in Southern California are the highest they’ve been in the last decade. In Los Angeles and Orange counties, motorists are paying roughly more to fill up a standard 14-gallon tank than they did a year ago.

    “Typically, we start to see prices go down after Labor Day because people have wrapped up their summer road trips,” AAA spokesman Doug Shupe said. “But this year is different.”

    A jump in crude oil costs, which account for slightly more than half of the pump price, has contributed to soaring gasoline prices.

    For much of 2020 — a year marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders and restricted travel — crude prices tanked. Last October, a barrel of crude cost just under , according to the Energy Information Administration. A year later, crude oil futures are closer to — an increase of more than 140%.

    “Demand is back. It’s been a tough couple of years with the pandemic,” Shupe said. “Now, with the increased vaccinations, more people want to get out there to share the open roads with friends and family.”

    Californians have always shelled out more for gas than in other parts of the U.S. because of higher taxes and environmental fees. Since 1996, cleaner-burning gasoline has cost more — but the trade-off has been cleaner skies, Borenstein said.

    “Forty years ago, you couldn’t see the mountains in Los Angeles,” he said. “Now you can.”

    There’s also a “mysterious gasoline surcharge” that Borenstein says appeared in 2015 that is unclear to the average consumer and even experts like himself. The high prices have been so disconcerting that Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the California Energy Commission for an analysis in 2019, suggesting “inappropriate industry practices” were driving up per-gallon costs, rather than the state’s surcharges.

    Experts say there should be some relief in the coming weeks when service stations in California switch over to their winter blends, which are cheaper to produce. By November, prices could drop about 12 cents, but Shupe said higher butane and crude oil costs will probably make the decrease less significant than in previous years.

    Griping about gas prices is understandable — and universal. But Borenstein said he has another way of looking at the numbers: “In some ways, what we’re seeing reflects some good news: The economy is coming back.”