Why Some Gas in L.A. Is Nearly Double the National Average

Angelenos pay 75 cents more per gallon than most Americans

It’s hard to complain about gas prices in California when, on average, they’re 30 cents lower per gallon than a year ago. But take a trip outside the Golden State, and you may seethe with envy.

The national price per gallon is now at $2.04, and has dropped below two bucks in many places, reports the L.A. Times. Meanwhile, in California, we’re still paying $2.69 per gallon on average. In L.A., the story is even worse. The average here is $2.78; higher than San Diego and even San Francisco.

Why the disparity? Well, our gas prices will always be more expensive than, in say, Wyoming or Colorado. We levy more taxes on our gas, but also require special blends that create less pollution (something worth shelling out a few more bucks for, especially considering how bad our air was/is). But while the price gap was about 30 cents per gallon between national and California prices last year, it’s now at almost 75 cents here in L.A.

The extreme difference can be blamed on a production slowdown at state refineries, both because of accidents—there was an explosion at a Torrance refinery, which provides 20 percent of gas in SoCal, in February—and scheduled maintenance. Things are looking up, though. Production is supposed to increase in the coming months, which will increase supply, Of course, when the Torrance refinery starts pumping again in a few months, more expensive summer blends kick in, while other refineries will go on hiatus for regular upkeep. Oh well, we’ll still take California over Texas any day.