Why Are Gas Prices So High?

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Natalie Waters

Prices reach seven dollars per gallon at a local Chevron in Yorba Linda, California

Natalie Waters, Photojournalist

In recent months, gas prices have risen to an all time high. Many Californians are confused by the dramatic fluctuations in the prices that appear on signs at their local gas stations. Just last week, gas prices in California have reached just over seven dollars per gallon. To put this crazed report into perspective, one year ago today, gas stations in California charged three to four dollars per gallon. Grace Peralta (12) expresses that she is “shocked by the recent prices of gasoline.” She mentions how the prices seem to be “higher every time [she] drives by a gas station.” Californians are spending hundreds of dollars on gas each week, while residents of other states have felt relieved with the steady decrease in their gas prices. 

I’m shocked by the recent prices of gasoline”

— Grace Peralta

Oil prices are lower, yet California gas prices have increased by record amounts. Recently, oil refineries have struggled to meet certain demands. Issues within refineries can cause significant spikes in gas prices, and there have been problems reported with multiple refineries. Currently, four of California’s major refineries are offline. The gasoline that those refineries usually produce is not getting to the market, resulting in the multiple spikes of gasoline prices Californians are noticing. 

California has always had higher gas prices than most other states, but people all over the country are shocked at the rate and numbers that these prices have raised to. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in addition to the issues in California’s oil refineries, the blend of gasoline that California uses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributes to the higher cost of gasoline. According to the California Department of Energy, producing this specific mixture of gasoline that California makes has been a major contributor to reduction of smog in the state within the last thirty years. With the creation of this more eco-friendly gasoline, refineries need more money to be able to afford special equipment and the expensive ingredients. A five to ten cent increase is added per gallon to be able to afford this type of gasoline. 

The issue of affordability of gasoline for California residents has been brought to both California Governor, Gavin Newsom, and United States President, Joe Biden’s, attention. Newsom has announced a plan that will give California residents a one thousand dollar check for relief of the inflation of gas prices.  Additionally, Biden has called on Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months. Both of these actions aim to provide much needed financial relief to the residents of California. 

Worry is settling throughout the state as gas prices continue to rise. Once the Californian oil refineries are up and running smoothly again, gas prices will begin to slowly decrease. The United States government is working to give financial relief to those who are struggling with the current inflation.