Why Are California Gas Prices So High? National Gas Prices Map

National Gas Prices by County Map

National Gas Prices by County Map

California's gas prices always run higher than the national average due to all the added taxes and fees the state tacks onto the price for each gallon of gas.

Gavin Newsom and state energy officials have again placed blame on oil and gas companies, accusing the corporations of “ripping off” Californians. Though Californians have long paid more at the pump than neighbors — a premium often attributed to the state’s environmental laws, taxes and special blend of gas that’s less harmful to the atmosphere — state leaders say this recent spike showed a concerning gap between expenses and price tags.

“Data show even as crude oil prices decreased and state fees and taxes remained unchanged, the price at the pump still went up because refinery costs and profits more than tripled, now accounting for $2.18 for every gallon of gas that Californians buy,” California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild said in a statement Wednesday. He requested information about the “sudden gap between national and California prices” from in-state oil refiners, which produce the vast majority of gas sold in California.

He also pointed to two cases in the last decade when refineries had unplanned maintenance issues: In September 2019, when five refineries had outages and prices spiked about 34 cents per gallon, and the 2015 explosion at a Torrance refinery that caused a 46-cent increase.