California Gas Prices Skyrocketed, And People Want To Know Why

California already had some of the highest gas prices in the United States, but one of the latest surges saw San Diego County suffer an overnight jump for a nickel.   The situation compared to March  California gas prices have increased by 25 cents on average since last month.
The highest price was recorded in October 2023 at $5.90 per gallon, and the lowest was in January of the same year at $4.22 per gallon. The current average price is $4.90 per gallon, a 6% increase compared to last year’s average price of $4.63.

Higher prices across the country 

In March, drivers were warned that gas prices would surge, and on average, they were up $0.18 from February. Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates predicted further increases of another 10 to 15 cents per gallon before the beginning of April. 

California’s law

Last March, California lawmakers and the governor passed the Gas Price Gouging and Transparency Law. It gives the commission the power to discipline oil refiners who profit off California drivers in unreasonable sums. The commission will have the proposal ready for public review in May, with a deadline to pass the new regulations by July 2024.

What it means for businesses 

Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, commented that the law could lead some gasoline importers to stop doing business in California. Additionally, Regina Mayor, KPMG’s global head of clients and markets, recently told Yahoo Finance that price rises are to be expected as summer approaches. 

The challenges

Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at OPIS, noted that refinery challenges are the main reason behind California’s rising gas prices. He added that the prices will only skyrocket with scheduled maintenance at two critical refineries in May.

If prices get too high

Regina Mayor said that people’s need for driving is justified when it comes to picking up their children from school or going to work. However, she believes they should reconsider driving during the summer holidays if the prices get too high. 

Shifting blame 

The Los Angeles Times wrote last month about the gas prices in California from another perspective. The discussion started with ads on TV, billboards, or highways, reportedly posted by the oil industry to deflect attention from its greed and shift blame for the nation’s highest gas prices onto California’s environmental policies. 

Oil companies vs. Californians 

The LA Times noted that oil companies want to present themselves as victims. The editorial cited a mysterious February increase when California’s prices were $1.35 per gallon higher than the rest of the country despite no additional taxes or environmental fees. The LA Times also reminded that for oil businesses, these are some of their most profitable years ever. 

San Diego County gas price jumps a nickel overnight

The situation in San Diego country confused its residents after an overnight jump for a nickel. The average price is 17.5 cents, which is more than one week ago and 35.4 cents higher than one month ago. It is 36.4 cents greater than one year ago. 

The highest gasoline taxes in the nation

California always has some of the highest prices, thanks to the highest gasoline taxes in the nation. State regulation requires a special blend of gasoline that reduces pollution, limiting the state’s supplies. 

Push for electric vehicles

California plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 as it transitions to cleaner vehicles. The high gasoline price encourages more EV adoption, asserted Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.But what about those who are still not thinking about EVs? 

Saving behaviors

There are some practical advice the American Automobile Association shared with people to save gas money. Drivers were recommended to improve their behaviors by slowing down and driving the speed limit, getting regular vehicle maintenance, planning their routes, and shopping around. 


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