Quick Facts

The reasons which raise the price of fuel in California include the following:

  • Californians pay approximately 30 cents extra per gallon of gas in comparison to drivers in other states.
  • California’s fuel policy decisions disproportionately impact low income and ethnically diverse groups, and small businesses.
  • California is a “fuel island” and has no pipelines linking it to petroleum or crude oil supplies, but instead must import an increasing share of fuel from shrinking domestic and distant international sources.
  • California has regulations that require special blends of gasoline
  • The state’s refining capacity has stagnated for decades despite a rapidly growing demand for gasoline.
  • California is isolated and lies a great distance away from other supply sources (e.g., 14 days travel by tanker from the Gulf Coast).
  • California’s “differentiated” fuel standards cause a continual risk of “supply outages”.
- Source: Fueling California Economic Research
California has the second highest state fuel taxes in the country.
- Source: California Energy Commission
California has enacted one of the nation’s highest combined (federal, state, local) gasoline taxes, 28% higher than the national average, with California state gasoline taxes alone are 43 percent higher than the national average of state gasoline taxes.
- Source: American Petroleum Institute 
California state gasoline taxes—which total approximately 35.3 cents per gallon are 43% higher than the national average of state gasoline taxes.
- Source: American Petroleum Institute 
Since 1997 Californians have paid between $0.38 and $0.61 more per gallon of gas than residents of other states once the price of oil and taxes is removed.
- Source: Federal Trade Commission and American Petroleum Institute
In terms of household expenditures on gasoline and oil, average California households spend over $1,000 per year on fuel taxes and average an estimated $277 more per year in gasoline taxes than the average American household.
- Source: Experian and The Tax Foundation
Overall U.S. trends for the past 10 years (1998 – 2007) show that, while upper-income households spend more on gasoline and oil (due to various differences in spending habits by income group), low-income households spend a larger share of their income on gasoline and oil.
- Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Commercial aviation generates $186 billion annually in economic activity in the state, and is ultimately responsible for 1.5 million jobs.
- Source: Fueling California Economic Research
Airlines burned 3% less fuel—and emitted 3% less carbon—in 2007 than they did in 2000, despite hauling 20% more passengers and cargo.
- Source: Fueling California Economic Research
Approximately 98% of the Transportation Sector is powered by petroleum through the refinement into fuel while 44% of the Industrial sector is powered by petroleum and transported to final destinations for sale by fuel.
- Source: State Board of Equalization
Crude oil is the principal ingredient and cost driver in California’s fuel supply. In addition to the cost of buying this global and finite commodity, is the cost of transporting it to California refineries.
- Source: Fueling California Economic Research
Approximately 58% of the cost for the gasoline we pay at the pump is derived from the cost of extracting and transporting crude oil.
- Source: Energy Information Administration
The effect of a proliferation of different fuel blends serves to fragment the existing infrastructure, complicating the processes of supply, refinement and distribution, and ultimately decreasing capacity and increasing prices for the consumers.
- Source: Fueling California Economic Research
The California Air Resources Board estimates that the additional costs of producing this “CARB” reformulated gasoline over conventional gasoline to be between five and fifteen cents per gallon.
- Source: California Air Resources Board
Geographical Areas hurt worst by costs of CA fuel standards are those which have been hurt worst by the economic downturn and will take longest to recover—Inland Empire and Central Valley.
- Source: Fueling California Economic Research
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