The Golden State is grappling with an alarming surge in gas prices, with the average cost per gallon in Los Angeles County skyrocketing to an eye-watering $6. As the days tick by, gas prices have steadily climbed for 57 consecutive days, marking the 52nd increase in this unending trend. In this case, what happens in California is undoubtedly not in sync with the rest of the nation.
The latest data from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service reveals that the average price per gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County surged by 4.8 cents in a single day, reaching $5.915. This staggering increase has become a relentless occurrence, with prices rising 52 times in just 57 days, resulting in a staggering spike of 94.3 cents. Comparatively, it’s 39.2 cents more expensive than a week ago, 62.5 cents pricier than a month ago, and 48.6 cents above the prices from a year ago. While gas prices have somewhat receded from the record-breaking $6.494 per gallon witnessed on October 5, 2022, the situation remains dire.
California has now officially outstripped Washington State in claiming the unenviable title of having the most exorbitant gasoline prices per gallon in the entire nation. Californians are not merely asking but practically begging for some relief. Many residents, including the author, are compelled to refill their tanks incrementally, as the pump cuts off at $125, necessitating multiple transactions to fill the tank completely. The question is, how many others share this predicament?
Social media platforms, such as X (formerly Twitter), have been inundated with an overwhelming majority of Californians pointing fingers at Governor Gavin Newsom and his fellow Democrats in the state’s Assembly and Senate. It’s worth noting that while gas prices in California have historically been slightly higher than the national average, the margin was marginal. However, this changed due to a California law passed in the early 1990s that mandated changes in refining practices to produce different, environmentally friendly fuel blends. This legislation led to the production of two distinct gasoline blends for various seasons, increasing refining costs, which were subsequently passed on to consumers.
In addition to these laws, various regulations implemented over the years have further driven up gasoline prices. In contrast, states like Georgia, under Governor Brian Kemp, have taken proactive measures to alleviate the economic strain on their citizens by temporarily suspending gasoline taxes, resulting in substantial savings for consumers.
Oil industry representatives assert that state regulations are the primary drivers of California’s higher gasoline prices compared to the rest of the nation. While the summer gasoline blend mandated by law during hot months is more expensive to produce, it’s designed to minimize pollutants like smog. Most refineries cannot transition to the winter blend until November.
Switching to the winter blend could save consumers 15 to 20 cents per gallon, but this potential relief may not be enough if gas prices continue to surge, nearing the record-breaking $6.46 per gallon set in June. Governor Newsom has made a rare admission that state regulations, including those governing refining methods and the number of refineries in the state, significantly contribute to the escalating cost of each gallon of gasoline. Yet, the blame game against oil companies persists, despite their profits being a direct result of producing petroleum-based products found in countless everyday items.
While California’s Democrats continue to vilify oil companies, taxpayers bear the brunt of increased taxes and fees, which inevitably get passed down to consumers. This cycle adversely affects consumers across various industries, worsening financial burdens and hindering mobility due to soaring gas prices. To reverse this troubling trend, voters must demand rational solutions. Until then, California’s gas prices will remain a painful reality, eroding disposable income and limiting daily life. The time for change is now, and it’s up to voters to make a difference.