Why Californians Feel More Pain Than Most At The Pump - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Why Californians Feel More Pain Than Most At The Pump

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Spring has sprung and if you drive a vehicle in California, you may feel like your budget has sprung a major leak. It happens every year like clockwork. Winter ends, Spring emerges and gasoline prices soar. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in California is, for today at least, $3.97.  But good luck finding that price if you live in the Los Angeles area, where a gallon of regular unleaded will run you more than $4 a gallon. How much more depends on where you fill up when you get dangerously low on fuel. This past Friday, I had the misfortune of being in a situation where I had no choice but to buy gas at a service station charging a whopping $4.25 a gallon! Fortunately, the fact that I drive a Prius helps ease the sting considerably.

Why, you might ask, do Californians pay more for gasoline on average than any other state in the country except Hawaii. I'll get to that in a sec. First, let me tell you one of the primary factors effecting what people pay. As a general rule, the farther your fuel has to be transported to wherever you happen to live, the more pain you'll feel at the pump. Hawaii is a perfect case in point. That state is farthest away from the country's oil production and refineries, which translates to nearly 50 cents a gallon more for the people living on the island paradise. The average price there now is a staggering $4.17 a gallon.

But that doesn't explain why we here in California are paying so much when the Golden State was the third largest U.S. producer and refiner of oil last year. Part of the problem is the state's huge demand for fuel. With about 30 million residents, California has roughly 10 percent of the nation's population. Refineries here are required to operate at full capacity at all times just to keep up with the demand. Even the smallest hiccup in production at any one of the refineries in the state can result in an immediate jump in gasoline prices. California also has more stringent environmental standards than even the federal government. So when refineries switch over to the "summer blend" gasoline, prices typically go up as well. And people tend to drive more during the spring and summer months and the increased demand also puts pressure on prices.  And let's not forget, Californians pay some of the highest taxes on gasoline in the nation at more than 52 cents per gallon.

Living in a state that is the envy of the nation when it comes to our weather and scenery has its perks but also means we pay a lot more for lots of stuff. And while logically, one should not necessarily have anything to do with other, the fact of the matter is, it does. If you live in what's perceived by many as one of the most desirable parts of the country, an inflated price tag is likely to come attached to the cost of living.  If it makes you feel any better, and it probably won't, many Europeans pay almost twice as much for their gasoline as most of us here in the U.S.

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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