Why California Is Plagued With The Highest Gas Prices

By Joseph Farago | 3 months ago

california gas prices

Gas prices have been climbing uncontrollably since the start of 2022. Even during the pandemic, the cost of gas has slowly inclined due to high demand and expensive transportation. The newest threat, the geopolitical conflict between Ukraine and Russia, has pushed the gas epidemic over the edge since Russia is one of the largest natural gas exporters. Though gas expenses have gone up everywhere in the United States, California gas prices experienced the highest numbers in elevated costs.

In many states in America, it’s common to see gas stations selling $4 to $5 per gallon of fuel. Unfortunately for west coast residents, California gas prices have reached a tremendous $6-per-gallon cost. In Los Angeles, California’s most populous city, the average gas price is $6.03 per gallon, far more expensive than a standard household can afford. Though Los Angeles is the city that has the highest gas prices in the state, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and other neighboring cities aren’t far behind.

Though California’s gas prices continue to grow, other states have seen a decrease in cost, though by a small margin. The national average for gas is now $4.24, which is nine cents lower than the average recorded on March 11. Every day since March 11, gas prices have gone down by less than a penny, bringing us to today’s slightly smaller national gas cost. Though this trend is somewhat relieving for most citizens, California has yet to experience a drop in gas cost since last year.

California gas prices have gone up almost every day in March 2022. A national peak occurred two weeks prior, reaching an unprecedented $5.72 per gallon. Today, the state has reached another record-breaking figure, with a whopping $5.88 per gallon.

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California joined a few other states with concerning escalations in gas prices. Nevada, California’s bordering state, has had similar skyrocketing gas costs. Though less substantial than California’s, Nevada’s gas prices hit a record high this week, reaching $5.18 per gallon. Hawaii also experienced unfathomably large numbers, hitting $5.09 per gallon. Both states’ gas prices grew by 25 cents in a matter of weeks, with no signs of decline.

The price difference between coasts and states has to do with the gasoline markets present in America. There are seven wholesale markets in the United States, with two occurring in the same state: California. This is a significant reason why California gas prices, and states on the west coast, are experiencing a continual climb in cost while the rest of the states slowly dip.

California’s unparalleled gas prices have also been affected by a refinery mishap in the state. An outage occurred in a refinery located in Torrance, California, which stopped the distribution of much-needed fuel. This accident put another layer of strain on the already heightened gas demand, tangentially accelerating fuel costs. An indefinite pause of even one refinery in the United States can have a devastating effect on gasoline prices.

The United States and its citizens have plenty to deal with besides the climbing cost of gas. While other states are seeing slight relief, California gas prices continue to explode.