It’s no secret that everything is more expensive in California than almost any other state in the nation. Residents are fairly used to living on the edges of financial stability but often trade fiscal prudence for weather and lifestyle considerations.
However, gas prices that are hovering around $2, sometimes $3, above the national average, really have Californians squeezed these days.
California Considers Moves to Reduce Prices at the Pump
According to CalMatters, a nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization that covers all issues in the Golden State, the state’s Energy Commission is expected to consider whether to take a key step toward penalties on windfall oil profits, and to broaden what data its new watchdog agency can collect.
About a year ago, Governor Gavin Newsom called a special legislative session to address the high cost of fuel. Newsom blamed the oil companies calling their practices “greedy and manipulative.” He claimed the gap between the oil prices in California and elsewhere was “inexplicable.”
“This is just rank price-gouging,” Newsom told reporters following a speech in Sacramento, adding, “There’s nothing to justify it. Nothing. Not one thing.”
Rather than punish the oil companies directly, the session – surprise, surprise – added yet another bureaucratic entity that requires them to submit reports detailing their operations and finances.
Analysts blamed maintenance-related shutdowns at several refineries in California, constricting the supply of a special blend of gasoline mandated by the state to reduce pollution, for increased prices.
Back then, a representative for the oil industry called Newsom’s new commission nothing more than a move to gain political capital from environmentally minded constituents who deem oil enterprises as evil.
“If this was anything other than a political stunt, the governor wouldn’t wait two months and would call the special session now, before the election,” said Kevin Slagle, a spokesperson for the Western States Petroleum Association. “This industry is ready right now to work on real solutions to energy costs and reliability if that is what the Governor is truly interested in.”
Consumers Always Pay the Price
The battle Newsom has waged on the oil industry is ultimately being paid for by consumers at the pump, and it is no longer a fight I care to be ensnared in.
I recently moved from the Los Angeles area to the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. It is the first time in years that I have slept without a white noise machine or fan running. I am feeling run down from what I believe to be a detox from the day-to-day stressors, like the cost of gas, that come with living in California.
I traveled from the Scranton-Wilkes Barre airport to my destination about an hour and a half away on less than a half tank of gas. I haven’t needed to refill the tank in the four days I’ve been here. When I do, with gas around $3.40 a gallon compared to the over $6 I was paying in Cali, I suspect it will be about half as much and it will probably last me at least twice as long if not more.
I understand there are trade-offs in life. From our jobs, to where we decide to live, to who we decide to marry, one decision will never fulfill all desires or needs.
However, at this stage of my life, being able to pay down massive amounts of debt from grad school and the pandemic era, plus having money to spare for the little luxuries in life like a massage, lifts a huge burden off my shoulders, figuratively and literally.
It is possible I may get bored and tired of the ease and simplicity of country bumpkin life. However, when I look at my bank statements, I doubt it.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.