Transit Talking Points by: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
My curiosity of the latest surge in gas prices statewide all began after I noticed a local Chevron gas station raised their prices 14 cents per gallon overnight yesterday morning, from $3.55 up to $3.69 per gallon within a 24 hour period. This follows a slow and steady decline in prices during the last several weeks.
Just as prices were steadily going down and as the unacceptable price difference of about $1.30 per gallon between Inland Empire prices and national average was slowly shrinking back towards about a 60-75 cent per-gallon difference, the trend rapidly reversed course during the last 36-48 hours. Many gas stations I passed by yesterday went up 10-15 cents per gallon as the day progressed with some local stations posting some of the sharpest hikes I've personally ever seen.
The latest spike is reportedly in response to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report that was released Wednesday. Basically, the report says the West Coast's gasoline inventory is in decline even though our crude oil stockpiles have reached 465.4 million barrels as of June 26 and crude oil prices are dropping toward $52 per barrel. Immediately following the report, wholesale prices spiked 27 cents a gallon. Plus, a Gas Buddy price chart shows that fuel prices in California are taking the steepest price hikes once again by a substantial margin.
High Gas Prices? Do Something About It...
All right, enough with me complaining. This is not The Complaining Coalition. What are We the People going to do about this situation? What are We, Californians going to do take control of this awful economic problem? We simply cannot allow such spikes to continue to dictate how we live our lives. This has already happened once before earlier this year and we should not tolerate this nonsense anymore.
Short Range: Allow the imports of traditional fuel when special blend runs low.
Today, the gas price directory website firm has urged its California users to sign a petition asking Governor Jerry Brown and the EPA to issue an executive waiver on California's specific gasoline mandates until these extreme circumstances are corrected. That will allow California gas stations to import traditional fuel and would solve this inventory problem immediately.
While fuel supplies on the West Coast have been kept low, domestic crude oil stocks remain plentiful and the price of crude oil is falling. Plus the national average for the price of regular unleaded did not spike as sharply as California's. There were also no reports of California oil refineries going out. That means there should be no excuse on earth for a fuel supply shortage. Good competition with efficient government oversight and allowing the marketplace to import traditional fuel in times of special-blend shortages whether caused by refinery problems or any other issue would solve the West Coast fuel supply shortage immediately, making this spike a short-lived event.
Longer Range Solutions to High Fuel Prices
Both LA and Orange County need to allow developers to expand in-fill housing infrastructure so that people can afford to live there without being crammed. The Inland Empire also needs to continue to grow its job market while ensuring housing here remains affordable. Plus, other car manufacturers need to begin to compete with Tesla, get more attractive and efficient zero-emissions cars into the marketplace so that these clean vehicles that would reduce pollution in the Inland Empire can become affordable and thus free us from the gas pump.
|Coalition Concept: RTA Route 206 along conceptual I-15 HOT Express/toll lanes through Wildomar.|
Note: Concept only. Not endorsed by RTA, RCTC or any public entity.
But The Transit Coalition needs your help and support too. By supporting our non-ideological, fact-based campaigns, you can help us be the unified voice that would call for the declaration of freedom from high prices at California's gas pumps.
Editor's note: As of Friday, July 10, 2015 at 10:45pm, regular unleaded fuel at the Temecula Chevron gas station referenced at the start of the article was priced at $4.37 according to Gas Buddy, 82 cents per gallon higher from $3.55 on Wednesday at 5:45am. The RS Station in central Corona was at $3.99, up 70 cents from Wednesday while the competing Arco station was at $3.51, up 21 cents.