gasmap.jpg

Red State California

California is now a red state, at least from the perspective of retail gasoline prices (heat map published by GasBuddy).  

Why are prices here so much higher than elsewhere in the nation, including areas just over the border?

California has made itself a closed market for auto fuel by mandating expensive seasonal gasoline blends, purportedly to reduce air pollution–nobody ever compares the contribution made by s…

  1. Frozen Chosen

    You Californians just keep bending over and taking it.

    California is a nice state but it’s not THAT nice!

  2. Innocent Smith

    I’m not sure that I care deeply enough about the environment to follow their “at least do something” mentality.  I remember talking to some greener-type friends about some of what they support (bag tax in Seattle, certain recycling programs, etc…) and whether they actually do any good toward a documented and proven problem.  The reply was “well, we have to at least do something.”  My rebuttal was that while we do not know whether our actions have any positive effect on our physical environment (especially regarding AGW), we do know the negative economic consequences of those actions.

    The mantra of the left remains “act first, then think.”

  3. Arahant

    I wish Michigan were the color of Texas.

  4. crizzyboo

    California is so far gone we might as well have already cracked off into the ocean. But if Romney  gets out here and talks up his energy policy, even the ditziest of the ditzes will at least listen for once. $5.00/gallon gas can’t be ignored.

  5. Kay Ludlow

    I think it’s a tactic employed by the California government to keep people from abandoning the state. They (to quote Joey B) literally can’t afford to fill up their tanks to drive to Texas.

  6. Mendel

    Here is a link to an interesting site which breaks down gas prices in each state into two components: the amount of tax levied on each gallon, and the pre-tax price of a gallon.

    Not surprisingly, California leads the nation in both categories (the high pre-tax price seems to be mostly due to the unique seasonal refining George mentioned).  When it rains, it pours.

  7. Mr. Dart

    A chart of Presidential approval ratings tracks almost parallel to a chart of the inverse price of gasoline.  The public always seems to blame the leader of the executive branch for high gasoline prices and, for once, I’m glad they do.  But, the biggest cause of rising gasoline prices in the Obama years is the Bernanke Fed’s devaluing of the US dollar.  Milton Friedman taught us that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”  And that monetary phenomenon plays out quickly in commodities traded globally like crude oil and refined product.  It takes more devalued dollars to buy that gas. 

    Republicans should point out that gasoline prices have more than doubled since Obama took office.  I doubt Obama will blame QE1, QE2, QE to infinity or Operation Twist so he’ll own it by default.

    Of course, California, as always, has found ways to exacerbate the problem with their extremist enviro rules.  Plus they’ve had some bad luck with their refineries lately. 

    Regular is $3.36 here today and we think that’s too high.

  8. Nick Stuart

    Just like here in the Kakistocratic Peoples Republic of Illinoistan, the citizens of California have what they have, because they keep voting the way they vote.

  9. George Savage
    C
    Terry: A chart of Presidential approval ratings tracks almost parallel to a chart of the inverse price of gasoline.  The public always seems to blame the leader of the executive branch for high gasoline prices and, for once, I’m glad they do.  · 2 hours ago

    I dream of waking up November 7th to discover that Mitt Romney somehow, improbably, snatched California from Barack Obama’s grasp.  

    Just imagine the collective hair loss amongst the pundit class–”Obama had a double-digit lead, George.  We thought he would win California walking away. But we stopped polling California during the critical final month when, apparently, the game changed because of $5 gas.”

    If only.

  10. danys

    My local Costco has been out of gas for 2 days. Has anyone done a study to measure whether or not the seasonal fuel blends make a significant difference to air quality? George makes an excellent point: how much have seasonal fuels and cleaner burning cars/trucks improved air quality. Are we now at the point where seasonal blends cost more than they are worth?

    I’ve lived in the LA basin my entire life & the air is much cleaner than it was in my childhood. While I enjoy seeing the San Bernardino & San Gabriel mountains more days than not, I don’t want gas to be so expensive we’re forced to change our driving habits or for independent gas stations to go out of business.

  11. Roberto
    George Savage Each seasonal changeover presents one more opportunity for a supply-disrupting refinery mishap

    This point is particularly salient. California policies on fuel blends are downright insane but by and large they only increase prices marginally year by year and most of this state’s residents are quite ready to “take it”. The true knife in the gut comes from mishaps that are impossible to predict, our policies amplify every problem. Consider this past year, everything possible occurring to cause supply disruptions and of course through our own foolishness we get the worst of it.  

    The US north east has historically relied on European gasoline imports, with 2 Million Barrels of Oil Per Day of Euro-zone refiners gone, the lack of an adequate distribution network from the Gulf Coast is now causing shortages. Combined with explosions in refineries, one in CA, the other in New Brunswick…

    The inevitable result is not rocket science, yet of course still a bridge too far  for our legislature to comprehend. 

  12. liberal jim

    People who are stupid enough to live in CA should not complain.

  13. George Savage
    C
    liberal jim: People who are stupid enough to live in CA should not complain. · 1 hour ago

    Ouch!  Liberal Jim, in my defense, when I moved here in the 80s California was not so far removed from Ronald Reagan and all-in-all a pretty smart place to be.  Hopefully, if enough of us complain intelligently enough, we can reverse course and restore economic sanity.

  14. Bob W

    I moved here in 43 or 44, don’t remember just when.  But I do remember when I was in high school in the 50′s the state was number one in education.  Also the legislature was part time , requiring legislators to have another occupation!   And not dominated by Democrats.  Now they are on the dole full time in Sac., and to keep busy they pass 6000 bills a year!

  15. Bob W

    Cal drivers wait until Monday to fill up.  The Exon/Moble plant has the plant producing again and gas shipping today is 50 cents a gal less!

  16. Bob W

    The seasonal blend is primarily for the ability to start your car in winter.  More volital components are added to increase the evaporation of  the gas making it easier to ignite.  This is done in  almost all states so you can start you car in winter.

    FYI.  The gas here has about 15 percent ethonal witch reduces the temp of the combustion process which lowers NOX output and helps meet the more stringent Cal emission  requirements.   When the engine is running NOX is the hardest requirement to meet because it is the highest when CO and Hydrocarbons are the lowest.  Ethonal also makes the fuel less efficient and reduces milage.  The catalitical converter is used  preimarly to reduce this component of  combustion.  Ethonal is also in shorter supply now due to the drought the summer.  Another reason the cost of gas is higher in Cal.

  17. Fred Cole

    It should be noted that those upper counties in upstate NY, Clinton, Essex and Franklin, that are red, are far from a gasoline delivery point.

    It would come in to the Port of Albany and then have to travel two or three hours North by truck as I assume gasoline isn’t shipped down from Montreal.

  18. Arahant
    Fred Cole: It should be noted that those upper counties in upstate NY, Clinton, Essex and Franklin, that are red, are far from a gasoline delivery point.

    It would come in to the Port of Albany and then have to travel two or three hours North by truck as I assume gasoline isn’t shipped down from Montreal. · 15 minutes ago

    It should be noted that the UP of Michigan isn’t close to anything that could be considered civilization, and yet their prices are lower than most of New York.  No excuses, Fred.

  19. Mendel
    crizzyboo: But if Romney  gets out here and talks up his energy policy, even the ditziest of the ditzes will at least listen for once.

    On the other hand, there’s not much Romney, or any other Republican president, could do to lower California’s gas prices substantially.

    As George noted in his post, most of the incredible differences in gas prices between CA and the rest of the nation are from statewide measures that any federalism-loving president would keep his mitts off of.  If Romney can find a way to knock 50 cents off the price of a gallon of crude oil, great – but unfortunately that price decrease will still be a drop in bucket of $5.00 gas.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In