The national gas price average increased 40% since the start of the year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). “Starting the year at $2.25 on January 1, average gas prices per gallon increased to $3.13 today.”
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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 $3.25 this summer.
The national average is $3.131 per gallon as of Thursday; California’s average is $4.31 for regular grade gas – even higher than Hawaii’s gas price average at $4.04, and Hawaii has to import most everything, including gas.
California’s medium unleaded gas sells for $4.50 per gallon on average. Gas in Mono County is $5.13 per gallon.
At about a 47% difference from California, Texas has really low gas prices at $2.81 per gallon. Louisiana gas sells for $2.78. New Hampshire gas sells for $2.98. Our neighbor Oregon’s gas sells for $3.67 per gallon, and Nevada gas sells for $3.78 per gallon.
California drivers all across the state are asking “Why are gas prices so high?”
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:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.”
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.