It should come as no surprise that the price of gas in California is higher than most other parts of the United States as this is consistently the case. It should also come as no surprise that the passing of this Easter weekend means we are definitely getting closer to the summer season, which is a time when travel increases, and with it so does the demand for fuel; and with that, the price of fuel.
What might surprise you, however, is that it is still, in fact April, and the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has already surpassed $4 for the first time in five years, in the Golden State.
Now, it should be noted that the price of gas in California reflects some of the strictest environmental standards in the United States. Because of the number of drivers up and down the I-5 corridor, it is quite important to have the cleanest possible gas. But an increase in unexpected maintenance in local refineries have forced the state of California to have to start looking elsewhere for supply. And, with that, the cost of transporting fuel—via importing—has resulted in the price of gas jumping 40 cents, in April alone.
As such, the average price of gas in California, right now, is more than $4 per gallon. At $4.02, this week, it is the highest average price of gas in California since July of 2014. To put this into perspective you should keep in mind that the national price of fuel rose to an average of $2.84 this week, which is only 10 cents more than the average price of gas from one year ago.
Again, we typically see a spike in gas prices, nationwide, during the spring months. Part of this, though, has to do with the fact that US refineries start to shut down some of their operations in order to begin working on producing the summer gasoline blends. Unfortunately, six out of the ten refineries in California are following traditional maintenance schedules or are undergoing unexpected repairs, which is slowing this transition.
But even though this higher price is shocking, the hope—and the plan, at least for now—is that gas prices should stabilize in the summer months, as they always do. However, the confluence of problems, right now, might keep gas prices a little higher than usual, even after they stabilize.