ICYMI: Wall Street Journal Editorial: "California's Gasoline Panic"

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board
October 23, 2019

Democrats in California have worked hard for years to inflate gasoline prices, but now they're searching for a fall guy as voters gripe about how much they're paying to fill up. Round up the usual fossil-fuel suspects!

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate oil companies for allegedly overcharging consumers and price-fixing. Gas prices in California average $4.13 per gallon, about $1.50 more than the rest of the U.S. "The mystery surcharge adds up, especially for cost-conscious, working families," the Governor declared.

…Few refiners outside of California produce its special clean-burning fuel, which adds about 10 cents a gallon. When a refinery in the state has an outage, gasoline must be imported by tanker at higher cost.

But California gas prices have been increasing relative to the other 49 states for years. The disparity especially widened in 2013 when the state's cap-and-trade program took effect and in 2018 after Democrats raised the state gas tax. Last year California's gas prices tracked about 77 cents higher than the U.S. average.

About half of the price difference between California and other states is due to taxes, cap and trade and the state's low-carbon fuel standard, according to the commission's report. Higher refiner and retailer margins account for another third. California refineries boast larger margins because they face higher regulatory costs and less competition.

Mr. Newsom has threatened legal action against oil companies to "protect the public." But liberals have long wanted higher gas prices so folks will ditch gas-powered cars. The Governor last month ordered revenue to be redirected from the last gas tax hike, which was supposed to fund highway construction, to projects that "reverse the trend of increased fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

So Californians in the future can look forward to paying more to drive on deteriorating roads as they head to homes without electricity due to blackouts. How long will it take California voters to figure out that these are problems made in Sacramento by politicians?

Read the entire editorial here.