Most of the nation has enjoyed extremely low gas prices for summer driving with the average price for a gallon or regular around $2.30. The AAA claims that some of these prices are among the lowest for the period in many years. However, some portions of the country continue to pay $3 for gas. Most of this is centered in the large cities of California.
The price of the average gallon of regular in San Francisco is $3.05. In Santa Barbara, it is $2.97. In Salinas, it is $2.96 as it is in Oakland. In San Jose and Los Angeles, it is $2.92, according to GasBuddy. The areas have most of California’s population.
Gas prices are primarily affected by three things. The first and largest influence is oil prices, which have lingered under $50 for most of the last three months. Another is state and federal gas taxes. The final is refinery capacity which can drive supply up or down quickly. Areas close to refineries often have low gas prices because of the small cost of transportation, another gas price factor
Gas taxes in California are among the highest in the nation. According to the America Petroleum Institute, the state’s taxes and levies total $.59 per gallon. The U.S. average is $.50. The lowest gas taxes are in Alaska where they are $.31. Gas tax levels by state rarely change, so California drivers are stuck with expensive gas indefinitely.
WalletHub recently looked at the worst American cities to drive in. Several California cities were at the bottom of the list. Along with infrastructure problems and traffic jams, gas prices were a primary driver
The history of gas prices has long shown the gas prices in California are among the highest in the country. “Indefinitely” could change to years.