01/31/2023

Reports » Energy Reports

California Energy Price Data for April 2019

Below are the monthly updates from the most current April 2019 fuel price data (GasBuddy.com) and February 2019 electricity and natural gas price data (US Energy Information Agency). To view additional data and analysis related to the California economy visit our website at www.centerforjobs.org/ca.

California vs. US Fuel Price Gap at 45.5% Premium

$1.25
Price Per Gallon Above US Average (CA Average)

The April average price per gallon of regular gasoline in California rose 54 cents from March to $4.00. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($2.75) rose to $1.25, a 45.5% difference.

The current price volatility is not unusual for California. Since the promulgation of the second round of reformulated gasoline (RFG II) regulations in 1991, California’s fuel market essentially has been isolated administratively, with few and in many years no compliant fuel or fuel components produced outside the state. And in issuing the RFG II rules, Air Resources Board staff also acknowledged in the rulemaking documents that in-state production would be affected as fuel importers and the smaller independent refiners—who previously provided the marginal production required in many events for price stability—would no longer be able to operate cost competitively under the new regulations. The state’s motorists consequently have become reliant on consistent production coming from the remaining refineries and blending operations.

Additional rounds of regulation in the subsequent years have served to increase the California market isolation, with compliant fuels and feedstocks produced primarily within the state. Total market supply and consequently prices are subject to even minor disruptions during the biannual changeovers between the mandated winter and summer fuel formulations. As can be seen in the historical data contained on the Center’s web site (data available since 2001), prices have jumped more than 50 cents a gallon from January during the Spring changeovers in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014 due to accidents during the changeovers or as a result of other delays in bringing individual refineries back on line. Similar price spikes have occurred due to supply disruptions during the Fall changeovers in many years as well. A list of refinery events affecting California supply during the most recent Spring changeover is available at Behind the California Retail Gas Price Spike: The Price Influence Chain in Action.

1st
Ranked by price

In April, California had the highest gasoline price among the states and DC. Californians paid $1.50 a gallon more than consumers in Alabama, the state with the lowest price.

California vs. US Diesel Price

$1.06
Price Per Gallon Above US Average (CA Average)

The April average price per gallon of diesel in California rose 22 cents from March to $4.07.  The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($3.01) rose to $1.06, a 35.0% difference.

2nd
Ranked by price

In April, California had the 2nd highest diesel price among the states and DC, behind only Hawaii.

Range Between Highest and Lowest Prices by Region

$1.33
Price per Gallon above US Average (Central Sierra Region)

The cost premium above the US (other than California) average price for regular gasoline ranged from $1.17 in the Sacramento Region (average April price of $3.92), to $1.33 in Central Sierra Region (average April price of $4.08).

Highest/Lowest Fuel Prices by Legislative District:

 

California Residential Electricity Price

51.3%
Above Average for Rest of US

California average Residential Price for the 12 months ended February 2019 was 18.94 cents/kWh, 51.3% higher than the US average of 12.52 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s residential prices remained the 7th highest in the nation.

California Residential Electric Bill

26.1%
Growth since 2010

For the 12 months ended February 2019, the average annual Residential electricity bill in California was $1,253, or 26.1% higher ($259) than the comparable bill in 2010 (the year the AB 32 implementation began with the Early Action items). In this same period, the average US (less CA) electricity bill for all the other states grew only 3.6% ($49).
Residential bills, however, vary widely by region, with the estimated annual household usage in 2017 as much as 55% higher in the interior regions compared to the milder climate coastal areas.

$5.8b
Premium Above US Average Price

For the 12 months ended February 2019, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Residential ratepayers paying $5.8 billion more than the average ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy.

California Commercial Electricity Price

63.8%
Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Commercial Price for the 12 months ended February 2019 was 16.54 cents/kWh, 63.8% higher than the US average of 10.10 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s commercial prices remained the 6th highest in the nation.

California Industrial Electricity Price

104.7%
Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Industrial Price for the 12 months ended February 2019 was 13.41 cents/kWh, 104.7% higher than the US average of 6.55 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s industrial prices remained the 6th highest in the nation.

Impact On Commercial and Industrial Ratepayers

$10.6b
Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended February 2019, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paying $10.6 billion more than ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy.

California Natural Gas Prices

Average prices ($ per thousand cubic feet) for the 12 months ended February 2019 and changes from the previous 12-month period for each end user: