California Gas Prices Reach Record High at Nearly $4.70 (AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 16 November 2021 02:28 PM
California gas prices reached an all-time high Monday, with the average cost of a regular gallon hitting $4.68.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the average gas price in Los Angeles County was $4.67 – close to a record set nine years ago. Orange County prices averaged $4.64.
American Automobile Association of Southern California spokesman Doug Shupe told the Times that the higher gas prices could be attributed to higher crude oil costs and an increased demand for fuel.
"We had really, really low demand during the pandemic, and then it just ramped up rapidly as more and more people became vaccinated," Shupe told the Times. "The desire to get out there and travel really picked up quickly."
Weather-related issues, such as heavy rains that "inundated" California's oil refineries with water, also played a role in the price rise, AAA spokesman Jeffrey Spring told the Times.
AAA reported Tuesday that the national average for regular gas was $3.411. Mid-grade gas was averaging $3.760 and premium $4.035. Those prices are up more than almost $1.30 from this time last year.
Seven Western states — California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona — plus Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C., have the highest average prices ($3.616 to $4.687), according to AAA.
The skyrocketing prices even have prompted Democrats to call on President Joe Biden to act. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., urged Biden to make use of emergency petroleum reserves in an effort to bring down prices heading into the holiday season.
"No industry is spared [the supply-chain issues], but gasoline is the worst of all," Schumer said at a Sunday press conference.
Analysts, though, have said that using the reserves would provide only a short-term solution, The Hill reported.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Biden was "all over" the gas issue, but couldn't identify a policy to support that claim.
"The president is all over this," Granholm told CNN on Monday. "He really is very concerned about inflation, obviously, and the price of gasoline because that's the most obvious manifestation of it.
"And as you know, no president controls the price of gas. Oil is sold on a global market. It is, as we see — as everybody's coming out of COVID there is a huge increase in demand. The supply has not caught up."