Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

Why Are Gas Prices So High?

Politics, economics and nature have all contributed to rising fuel costs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gas prices in the U.S. are really low by worldwide standards. Taxes are the key. (Published Friday, Feb 24, 2012)

    Rising gas prices have motorists wondering: what gives?

    A fifth of the world’s oil supply continues to make its way through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. But the fear that Iran may attempt to block that checkpoint has sent crude prices up sharply.

    Gas Prices: Cause & Effect

    [LA] Gas Prices: Cause & Effect
    Several issues are at play when it comes to finding a reason for the spike in gas prices. Conan Nolan reports there is actually an ample supply, but it's the worry of a shortage that is helping drive up prices. (Published Friday, Feb 24, 2012)

    Demand for oil and petroleum has also increased for industries, which are buying now as a hedge on the future, said Charles Chiccheti, energy economist.

    “And various companies that depend upon oil such as aviation, trucking and railroads are buying it now before it gets even more expensive,” Chiccheti said.

    Gas Prices Surge Overnight

    [LA] Gas Prices Surge Overnight
    Gas prices are rising overnight and it's hurting drivers where it counts the most -- their bank accounts. The average gallon of gas in Los Angeles is $4.24. But NBC4 found some stations charging well over $5 a gallon. Toni Guinyard put a face on what we're all feeling. (Published Friday, Feb 24, 2012)

    The Iranian government’s decision to cut oil exports has also increased the price per barrel, and what is called the spare capacity of oil is half of what it was last year.

    Standard for this time of year, some refineries that supply California have gone off-line for maintenance to get ready for increased production in the summer months.

    With Gas Prices Rising, Drivers Seek Alternatives

    [LA] With Gas Prices Rising, Drivers Seek Alternatives
    Drivers are resorting to cheaper gas at off-brand stations and considering mass transit as an alternative with prices as high as five dollars per gallon in Downtown LA. (Published Friday, Feb 24, 2012)

    But an unexpected fire at a refinery in Washington state cut back production even further, and that has also cut supply to the state.

    On top of that, California, unlike any other state, doubles its taxes on gasoline. A sales tax is tacked on to the road tax, which accounts for about 40 cents a gallon at the current price.

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