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California vs. US fuel price gap at 50.3% premium

The September average price per gallon of regular gasoline in California rose 20 cents from August to $3.81. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($2.53) jumped to $1.27, a 50.3% difference, according to data assembled by the non-profit California Center for Jobs and the Economy.

The primary factor behind the California price rise was production problems at three of the state’s refineries, according to the organization. Compounding this situation was the rise in world oil prices coming from the attacks on the Saudi facilities.

While the rest of the nation was little affected by this supply disruption as a

result of access to the expanding domestic production, California instead has moved in the opposite direction. California reliance on foreign crude oil imports rose from 47.7% in 2010 (the year the early actions under AB 32 were implemented) to 57.5% in the latest 2018 data from the Energy Commission.

California production declines in both years were moderated by continuing tanker imports of crude from Alaska. US Energy Information Administration shows foreign crude oil imports to the other states dropped from 64.6% to 39.7% in the same period.

In September, California had the highest gasoline price among the states and DC. Californians paid $1.55 a gallon more (68% more) than consumers in Mississippi and Louisiana, the states with the lowest price.

The organization also noted that for the 12 months ended July 2019, the average annual Residential electricity bill in California was $1,236—24.3% higher ($242) than the comparable bill in 2010 (the year the AB 32 implementation began with the Early Action items). In this same period, the average US (less CA) electricity bill for all the other states grew only 2.8% ($38).

Residential bills vary widely by region. Updated data from Energy Commission for 2018 shows the estimated annual household usage was as much as 65% higher in the interior regions compared to the milder climate coastal areas.


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