California drivers are paying about $2 per gallon of gasoline more than the national average price, with prices in the state soaring even as the national average has steadily declined from its record-high level in the spring.
Currently, according to the American Automobile Association, the national average price for regular gas is $3.71 per gallon. In California, it is a staggering $5.76 per gallon.
Generally, California drivers pay more because of state taxes and regulations. But that alone would not explain the fact that California prices have actually been rising in recent weeks, after falling along with those in the rest of the country.
Drivers in Southern California are mystified, according to local ABC affiliate KABC-7 in Los Angeles:
The average price [in Los Angeles County] has increased 44.3 cents over the past 22 days, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 26.1 cents more than one week ago, 37.1 cents higher than one month ago, and $1.286 greater than one year ago.
The current streak of increases follows a run of 78 decreases in 80 days totaling $1.216. The average price is 77.3 cents less than the record high of $6.462 set June 14.
The national average price is $1.316 less than the record $5.016 set June 14.
[T]he widening gap between what everyone from San Jose to Los Angeles is paying compared to the rest of the country is due to the concentrated nature of California’s oil refineries, experts say. Due to the state’s special gas blend, California is often termed a “fuel island” because nearly all gas sold in the state is refined locally by a handful of companies, including Chevron, Marathon Petroleum and PBF Energy. That means mechanical hiccups at refineries can cause major price spikes not seen elsewhere in the country…. (Read more)