Who is To Blame for California's Record High Gas Prices?

Thomas Smith

Original photo by the author

If you filled up your tank in the Bay Area in the last few weeks, you've probably noticed something: a major pain in the pump. Gas prices have skyrocketed across the country, but here in the Bay Area, they are the highest in the USA.

At a gas station in downtown San Francisco, the price the pump had increased to $5.85 per gallon over the weekend. Throughout the Bay area, prices were approaching an average of $4.70 per gallon. That's the highest level in almost a decade.

Why are prices so high? There's a complex mix of factors. Gas prices nationwide have increased dramatically due to increased demand from people who are traveling again as the pandemic abates. Supply has had trouble keeping up, and has lagged behind the demand. As anyone who has taken an economics class knows, that means that prices will increase.

Still, California's gas prices are even higher than the rest of the country. Part of that is due to built-in taxes in California that make our prices higher all the time. t the atmospheric river storm that hit the Bay area last month is also to blame.

According to The New York Times, that giant storm inundated California's oil refineries, reducing the amount of fuel that could produce. Much of California's gasoline is specially formulated for the state's environmental regulations, so it's not easy for California to buy fuel made elsewhere.

The high fuel prices come at a challenging time, as people prepare to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Many people are staying within the state of California this year because of the pandemic. Driving within the state is a lot more expensive now than it was in 2020.

When will California's high gas prices come down a bit? Unfortunately, the prices look like they will stay high at least through the end of the year. Although the refineries in Northern California may catch up with demand, the overall price trends across the country are likely to continue. Prices may begin to come down a bit, but they're likely to remain elevated for quite some time.

The high prices are stirring up California's existing political strife. Some conservatives blame the governor for the price increases, while those on the progressive side often see them as evidence that it's time to switch to electric vehicles.

What or who do you think is to blame for California's high gas prices, and what do the prices mean for the future? Let me know in the comments.

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Award-winning entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Gado Images. Thomas writes, speaks and consults about artificial intelligence, privacy, food, photography, tech, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional photographer, Thomas' photographic work regularly appears in publications worldwide. Pitches/news tips: tom@gadoimages.com

Lafayette, CA

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