Gasoline prices in California have increased by a total of 60 cents per gallon in the past three weeks, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Regular retail gasoline prices averaged $4.09/gal as of Monday, October 7, the highest price for the state since mid-2014. Several refineries in the area are experiencing operational issues, which has limited gasoline production.
Gasoline prices in California are now $1.45/gal more than the U.S. average and $0.45/gal more than the West Coast average, the largest difference in these prices in EIA’s data series dating back to May 2000.
The West Coast region is a relatively tightly balanced petroleum market, so any supply disruptions tend to have larger price effects than similar issues elsewhere in the country. California also has more stringent transportation fuel regulations and higher transportation fuel taxes than most of the country, which contribute to its higher gasoline prices.
After declining for several weeks, West Coast gross refinery inputs (refinery runs) fell to 2.24 million barrels per day (b/d) in the week ending September 27—the lowest weekly value since late October 2016. California’s recent gasoline price increase is the largest weekly change since 2015 when an explosion at the Torrance refinery and several subsequent disruptions led to higher prices throughout the state.