California repeatedly warned about spiking gas prices, fragile supply. But fixes never came.
California has one of the highest average gas prices in the nation – so high that a state-appointed commission in October warned that the ‘over-all state economy is becoming more vulnerable to price increases than other areas where the price of oil or gasoline is higher.’ The same commission added: ‘The high price of gasoline is not a new phenomenon for the region.’ California has been dealing with gasoline price spikes for more than a decade, but the price has only gone up.
California has been dealing with gasoline price spikes for more than a decade, but the price has only gone up.
Californians are now paying for gas at least 16% more than what they paid 20 years ago – and the price may go even higher.
In May, the latest fuel price index by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed the price of regular unleaded (a cheap, light grade of gas) in California jumped 16.1 cents in May to an average of $2.93. In May, that average was 17.5 cents higher than a year ago – in May, it was 13 cents higher than the month before, and 15 cents higher than the month before that.
Over the last year, the overall increase has been more than 31 cents.
The U.S. Census Bureau shows the state’s poverty rate hit 12.2% in May. California’s poverty rate as a whole is 12.5%. However, California’s poor are not necessarily poor from one month to the next – their poverty is caused in large part by the high costs of living in the state.
Last week, the California Economic Association (CEA) published a study that said average prices for California are rising at a rate of 6.4% a year. According to the CEA, the cost of living in California is 10% higher than it is in Texas.
The high prices for gasoline have made many Californians – both poorer and wealthier, less likely to drive. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the number of Americans who do not drive has dropped from 8.6 million in 2000 to 7.4 million in 2005