According to national surveys, gas prices in California reached a record-breaking high of $4.676 per gallon for regular fuel on Sunday, setting a new high for the state. The previous record average price of $4.671 was set in October 2012.
The Golden State is the most populous state in the United States and now has the highest gas prices in the country, despite the fact that the national average has decreased somewhat to $3.413.
Another factor contributing to the hike was lower refinery production capacity as a result of heavy rainstorms in northern California, which subsequently flowed down the supply chain, affecting southern California in the same way that Hurricane Ida affected Louisiana last August.
When asked about the supply crisis, Jeffrey Spring, Corporate Communications Manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California, said, "It's a minor issue right now, nothing catastrophic, until the refineries can get back up to full capacity."
According to Doug Shupe, a spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association, although Californians are accustomed to paying more for gas, the price has recently risen significantly as a result of increasing crude oil costs and pent-up demand as a result of the COVID epidemic. "Typically, prices at the pump drop after Labor Day since people have returned from their summer vacations. Children have returned to school," Shupe explained. "This year, people are still traveling, however. There's still a demand for fuel to get people where they want to go," he added.
Gas prices have risen steadily throughout 2021 as global demand for oil has surged. However, suppliers such as OPEC have been unable — or unwilling — to raise production while Vice President Biden shuts down pipelines in the United States. Oil prices in the United States have increased by more than 65 percent this year, despite the fact that oil output in the United States is approximately 14 percent below levels seen in 2019 at the end of the Trump administration prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, with gasoline prices skyrocketing to seven-year highs and Wall Street banks predicting that oil prices could rise to $100-$120 per barrel in the near future, prices haven't reached a plateau yet, according to one financial analyst.
However, the ordinary California commuter, who is already paying over $1.50 more per gallon, will see little respite in the near future. It appears that with California's ports and supply chain still a disaster and our state's economy struggling to recover from the pandemic, the Golden State will see change any time soon.