Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Californians have been complaining about the steep rise in fuel prices; the American Automobile Association’s current fuel price listings per state lists the Pyrite State’s average fuel prices as $4.080 per gallon for regular, $4.227 for mid-grade and $4.340 for premium; diesel fuel costs average $4.101 per gallon.¹
No other state cracks the $4.00 mark, even for premium gasoline, and the second most expensive state is Hawai’i, where gasoline has to be shipped by tanker, has prices of $3.624, $3.784, $3.940 and $4.217, respectively.² Even in Hawai’i, fuel is roughly 46¢ per gallon less expensive. The second most expensive state of the contiguous 48 is Washington, $3.511, $3.680, $3.834 and $3.412, where Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat now running for President, tried to impose a state ‘carbon tax’ to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Despite being a very liberal state, voters there rejected Initiative 1631 by a landslide margin, 1,340,725 (43.44%) for versus 1,745,703 (56.56%) against.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday requested that the California Energy Commission investigate why the state’s gasoline prices are so much higher than the rest of the country, citing independent analysis that suggests there could be an “unaccounted-for price differential” resulting from “inappropriate industry practices.”
Newsom’s concerns appears to refer to analysis conducted by University of California Berkeley professor and former chair of the California Energy Commission’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee, Severin Borenstein, who found there is a “mystery surcharge” for California drivers that cannot be explained by higher taxes – among the highest in the country – and producer costs.
“In the past few years, the price gap with other states has jumped much more than costs and taxes can explain,” Severin wrote in an October blog post.
Other experts, however, say it’s simple economics, considering there have been refinery outages in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“When a refinery in a tight market like the West Coast goes down, knowing few refineries produce California’s one-off gasoline mix, is a recipe for a course in Econ 101: supply drops, and demand is inelastic, meaning motorists still need fuel, so prices can soar,” Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, told FOX Business. “I don’t see much/if any manipulation here, this is how markets work.”
The reasons which raise the price of fuel in California include the following:
- Californians pay approximately 30 cents extra per gallon of gas in comparison to drivers in other states.
- California’s fuel policy decisions disproportionately impact low income and ethnically diverse groups, and small businesses.
- California is a “fuel island” and has no pipelines linking it to petroleum or crude oil supplies, but instead must import an increasing share of fuel from shrinking domestic and distant international sources.
- California has regulations that require special blends of gasoline
- The state’s refining capacity has stagnated for decades despite a rapidly growing demand for gasoline.
- California is isolated and lies a great distance away from other supply sources (e.g., 14 days travel by tanker from the Gulf Coast).
- California’s “differentiated” fuel standards cause a continual risk of “supply outages”.
And now the people in the Pyrite State are revolting. Governor Newsom wants answers, but for those all that he needs to do is look in the mirror:
As lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom supported a 2017 bill increasing the state’s gas taxes. When running for governor in 2018, he opposed a ballot initiative that would have repealed that same increase. It’s 2019, and Newson, now the state’s governor, is demanding an investigation into why the state’s gas prices are so high.
California’s state gasoline tax is 41.7¢ per gallon, a rate which jumps to 47.3¢ in July. In addition, there is a 2.25% gasoline sales tax, and “a low-carbon fuel standard and a cap-and-trade scheme for carbon emissions which together increase the state’s gas prices by $.24 per gallon above the national average, according to a 2017 state government report.”
These are the things that the left have wanted, have said that they wanted to do to reduce CO2 emissions. And now, California’s citizens are angry that they are having to shell out more money due to the policies of the politicians whom the voters elected to office.
Elections have consequences, someone once said, and now the consequences of all of those elections in which Californians put leftist Democrats in office are hitting them in the wallet. They asked for it, they got it, and now they don’t like it.
I just can’t put into words how much sympathy I have for them.
¹ – Prices will fluctuate; information current as of 8:00 AM EDT.
² – Diesel prices are similar to gasoline prices in some states, and widely different in others, due to different state taxation rates on diesel fuel. Diesel has a less expensive refining process than gasoline, though it has come closer due to the ultra-low-sulfur regulations.
If you found this article interesting, annoying or outrageous, please visit my Red State story archive to be further interested, annoyed or outraged.
My personal website, The First Street Journal, includes articles not necessarily in Red State’s paradigm.
You can follow me on Twitter.