For a long time, we Californians have been told our gas prices are among the highest In the nation. A few weeks ago, our worst suspicions were confirmed; we officially became number one. Of course now that we’ve all been through (another) price sticker shock from the oil companies, they’ve managed to pull another magic rabbit out of the hat, and our prices have started to drop again.
The thing that got to me was that this time, there wasn’t as much of an outcry from the general public. If you watched the news, everyone seemed to say “well, I guess its just something we’re going to have to live with.” ”Prices are going up everywhere, so what can we do about it?”
Traveling Across Country
As I was leaving Orange County, bound for Vegas (Bloggy Boot Camp here I come!), the morning news was reporting that California gas prices were not only at an all time high, but that we were the highest in the nation (great time to schedule a road trip, huh?)
Thank goodness I decided to buy an economy car a few years ago. OK, so technically its not exactly an economical car; yes, it is small and it does get great gas mileage! But filling the gas tank is still a nerve-wracking (and budget-busting) dilemma.
I was surprised that the price of gas in Barstow wasn’t any more outrageous than it was in LA/Orange County; and as soon as I crossed over into Nevada, there was a definite sigh of relief as the prices were hovering close to the $4 mark.
As I continued my trip into New Mexico, I was pleasantly surprised by another drop in prices. Gas was almost a dollar cheaper in New Mexico, as compared to California! But after years of standing at pumps and reading all the small print and stickers on those pumps, I have an inkling of an idea why we Californians are paying so much more.
Years ago, someone labeled California as the land of hippies, nature-freaks and nuts. We wanted cleaner air and water, and someone, somewhere created a blend of gas just for us here in California. Cha-ching! Add the various federal, state and local taxes to each gallon, and we have the special blend, designed to make our air more breathable, our skies bluer and our cars run cleaner.
We’re not the only ones
We are one of 17 states that use a specially reformulated blend of gas; unfortunately, our special blend is not the same as anyone else’s–add to that the fact that we have a limited number of refineries to create this for the state, and the potential for shortages and sky-rocketing prices is not a big surprise.
Is there a cure for this problem? I’m not sure there’s any one thing that everyone will be happy with when it comes to “fixing” a gas shortage or price hikes. Do we build more local refineries? Start drilling off shore? Create a more accessible system of public transportation?
All of these are good ideas (to a point), but each comes with its own drawbacks too. What are your thoughts, plans or solutions to the gas shortages and outrageous prices? If we all put our heads together, we’re sure to come up with some great ideas!