Why in California we pay a gallon of gasoline at a higher price than the average cost of the United States?

Gasoline prices in Southern California are reaching levels never seen before.

PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Getty Images

Have you ever wondered why we in California currently pay a higher price per gallon for gasoline than the average price of fuel in the United States?

The causes are not only a consequence of external causes, such as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has raised oil prices worldwidebut also due to internal circumstances.

According to data from the American Automobile Association, The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was quoted this Thursday in California at $5,882 dollarswhile in the country it was $4,236 dollars.

March 11th a record was set in the average price at the national level, when it reached $4.33 dollars per gallon.

In Los Angeles County, an average price of $6,032 dollars per gallon of regular gasoline was paid this Thursdaybut the highest cost in California was recorded in Mono County, in the center of the state, with a price of $6,633 per gallon.

Related: Los Angeles is the first major city in the US to exceed $6 in the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline

Other southern California counties, such as Ventura and San Luis Obispo, have already exceeded $6 dollars per gallon of fuelwhile Orange and San Diego are within a few cents of reaching the mark.

This Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a proposal to give California registered vehicle owners a $400 cash back on debit cardsinitiative that if approved would begin to be delivered from July.

Related: Gov. Gavin Newsom Proposes Giving Out $400 Debit Cards to California Car Owners

While the price of fuel stabilizes in most of the country, or has even decreased, in other states the opposite occurs, as in Nevada or Hawaii, where residents have had to pay more money to buy gasoline.

According to a report published this Thursday on CNN Business, there are 7 main wholesale fuel markets in the United States: 2 in California, 1 for the Pacific Northwest, and 4 spread across the rest of the country.

For residents living west of the Rocky Mountains, gasoline prices maintain an upward trend, while in the rest of the country they remain stable.

The Auto Club Southern California highlighted the impact on prices of the unscheduled outage 3 weeks ago of a major refinery in Torrance, Los Angeles Countywhich caused the gasoline market to become even more complicated.

“This is not a planned maintenance issue. A refinery could take 2-4 weeks to return to full capacity. We know drivers are frustrated by that, especially when faced with higher prices,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe.

The lack of production of a refinery causes an impact on rising prices in the west because capacity has been steadily declining.

According to data from the United States Energy Information Administration, in the last months of 2021 the refining capacity in the western states registered a decrease of 12% since the end of 2019prior to the COVID pandemic, and 22% since the end of 2007, before the Great Recession.

The report mentioned that some refineries closed for financial reasons affected by a difficult economic situation, and some are being converted to produce renewable fuels, such as the Marathon Petroleum refinery, in the city of Martínezin Contra Costa County, a facility that will begin delivering renewable diesel.

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