California Gas Prices Increase

Overnight, California residents unknowingly experienced the largest increase in gas prices since 2015. According to AAA, Wednesday the average price for regular gas in California was $6.04 . . . Thursday morning it went to $6.18 a gallon. That is a nearly 10% increase, happening overnight while most Californians were asleep. Compare this to the National gas price, noted by AAA at $3.78.

Why is gas so expensive in California?

According to the American Petroleum Institute, Californians pay the highest state excise tax; when you add Federal excise tax, state residents pay a total of $0.87 of taxes per gallon. Comparatively, Arizona residents pay $0.37 per gallon in total taxes.

Another aspect of the high cost of gas in California is related to the nature of gasoline sold in California. California requires a unique seasonal blend of gas to limit greenhouse gas emissions. According to the California Air Resources Board, California’s Phase 2 Reformulated Gasoline (CaRFG2) and Phase 3 Reformulated Gasoline (CaRFG3) regulations require refiners to produce gasoline that meets eight different specifications to reduce air pollution from the gas used in motor vehicles.

This unique summer gas blend requires refineries to use specific equipment and add expensive blending ingredients. This blend does help limit greenhouse gas emissions in California, but it does add to the cost at the pump. The National Petroleum Institute Petroleum Watch reveals that Southern California receives this specialized blend of summer gas between February and November. Therefore, gas prices may dip in time for holiday travel in December.

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