07/14/2024

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California Energy Price Data for April 2023

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Below are the monthly updates from the most current April 2023 fuel price data (GasBuddy.com) and February 2023 electricity and natural gas price data (US Energy Information Administration). To view additional data and analysis related to the California economy visit our website at www.centerforjobs.org/ca.

The added costs under California policies, regulations, taxes, and fee add-ons continue to keep prices at the highest or near the highest among the contiguous states and DC across all energy sources.  Natural gas prices show the state continuing to lose ground in its rankings as the higher prices due to pipeline shortages earlier this year are incorporated into the data.

Energy Price (12-month moving average) Rank Among Contiguous States/DC
Current Month Previous Month
Residential Electricity Rate 3rd 3rd
Average Residential Electricity Bill 14th 16th
Commercial Electricity Rate 1st 1st
Industrial Electricity Rate 3rd 3rd
Residential Natural Gas Rate 4th 5th
Commercial Natural Gas Rate 3rd 5th
Industrial Natural Gas Rate 4th 5th
Gasoline 1st 1st
Diesel 1st 1st

The April gasoline average in California was largely stable, rising only 2 cents from March.  The price gap with the other states eased somewhat as the average price rose slightly higher, up 18 cents, in the rest of the US.  Prices have since continued to ease slightly, down another 5 cents in California according to the latest results from CSAA as of May 5, and down 7 cents in the overall US average.  While crude prices currently are playing a moderating role on retail prices, Californians are in store for another price bump due to the pending increase in gasoline and diesel taxes on July 1.

Diesel prices—a core factor in food and other goods inflation—saw somewhat larger easing, down 21 cents in California and down 11 cents in the average for the other states.

Average electricity rates and the average annual residential electricity bill continued to break records as the state’s energy and related polices continue to push the cost of this energy source to new heights, even as the state continues to force more household and employer reliance on electricity in the future.  

In a tacit admission that state policies have—to use the technical economic term—screwed up electricity costs beyond comprehension and made them unaffordable to an increasing share of California households, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is now moving forward with a rate structure that will break electricity pricing into another two components for the investor owned utilities:  a new base amount that varies by income level and the other that continues the standard pricing based how much customers actually use.   This new structure layers on the existing rate components which already contain numerous taxes and fees as authorized by the legislature or created by the PUC.

The income-based rate component breaks new ground in several ways, most notably in that it shifts electricity rates away from their traditional payment for services and goods received to in essence a graduated tax implemented through PUC action.  The likely popularity of such an approach is reflected in the fact that this significant change was approved by the legislature with minimal to no public notice and debate, and instead was buried as one of many items contained in a 48-page budget trailer bill

Inflation Eases but Still Highest Since 1991

5.4%
Annual Increase in California CPI

For the 12 months ending February, the California CPI rose 5.4%, down slightly from 6.0% in January.  In the same period, the US CPI rose 6.0%, down from 6.4%. Looking at the period prior to 2022, California’s rate was the highest since January 1991.

California vs. Rest of US Fuel Price Gap at 38.4% Premium

$1.36
Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The April average price per gallon of regular gasoline in California rose 2 cents from March to $4.89.  The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($3.53) eased to $1.36, a 38.4% difference.

1st
Ranked by
price

In April, California again had the highest gasoline price among the contiguous states and DC.  Californians paid $1.77 a gallon more than consumers in Mississippi, the state with the lowest price.

California vs. US Diesel Price

$1.21
Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The April average price per gallon of diesel in California eased 21 cents from March to $5.29.  The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($4.08) eased to $1.21, a 29.6% difference.

1st
Ranked by
price

In April, California again had the highest diesel price among the contiguous states and DC.

Range Between Highest and Lowest Prices by Region

$1.51
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 $1.28 in the Sacramento Region (average April price of $4.81), to $1.51 in Central Sierra Region (average April price of $5.04).

Highest/Lowest Fuel Prices by Legislative District:

April 2023: Average Price ($ per gallon) of Regular Gasoline
Highest Lowest
CD02 Huffman (D) $5.12 CD07 Matsui (D) $4.77
CD11 Pelosi (D) $5.06 CD05 McClintock (R) $4.77
CD30 Schiff (D) $5.06 CD06 Bera (D) $4.75
CD50 Peters (D) $5.02 CD09 Harder (D) $4.73
CD15 Mullin (D) $5.01 CD01 LaMalfa (R) $4.70
SD02 McGuire (D) $5.09 SD35 Bradford (D) $4.83
SD24 Allen (D) $5.04 SD14 Caballero (D) $4.82
SD39 Atkins (D) $5.04 SD06 Niello (R) $4.78
SD17 Laird (D) $5.02 SD08 Ashby (D) $4.76
SD11 Wiener (D) $5.02 SD05 Eggman (D) $4.71
AD02 Wood (D) $5.16 AD07 Hoover (R) $4.73
AD51 Zbur (D) $5.12 AD10 Nguyen (D) $4.73
AD30 Addis (D) $5.10 AD13 Villapudua (D) $4.71
AD17 Haney (D) $5.08 AD22 Alanis (R) $4.68
AD77 Boerner Horvath (D) $5.08 AD03 Gallagher (R) $4.61

California Residential Electricity Price

79.8%
Above Average for Rest of US

California average Residential Price for the 12 months ended February 2023 was 26.52 cents/kWh, 79.8% higher than the US average of 14.75 cents/kWh for all states other than California.  California’s residential prices were again the 3rd highest among the contiguous states and DC.

California Residential Electric Bill

14th
Ranked by Cost

For the 12 months ended February 2023, the average annual Residential electricity bill in California was $1,731, or 74.1% higher ($737) 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 20.6% ($281).

In 2010, California had the 9th lowest residential electricity bill among the contiguous states and DC.  In the latest data, it had the 14th highest.

Residential bills, however, vary widely by region, with the estimated annual household usage in the recent released data for 2020 as much as 78% higher in the interior regions compared to the milder climate coastal areas, and substantially higher when comparing across counties.

$10.7b
Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended February 2023, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Residential ratepayers paying $10.7 billion more than the average ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy. Compared to the lowest cost state, California households paid $14.7 billion more. 

California Commercial Electricity Price

85.8%
Above Average for Rest of US

California average Commercial Price for the 12 months ended February 2023 was 22.07 cents/kWh, 85.8% higher than the US average of 11.88 cents/kWh for all states other than California.  California’s commercial prices were again the highest among the contiguous states and DC.

California Industrial Electricity Price

117.2%
Above Average for Rest of US

California average Industrial Price for the 12 months ended February 2023 was 17.70 cents/kWh, 117.2% higher than the US average of 8.15 cents/kWh for all states other than California.  California’s industrial prices were again the 3rd highest among the contiguous states and DC.

$16.2b
Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended February 2023, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paying $16.2 billion more than ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy.  Compared to the lowest rate states, Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paid $21.1 billion more.

California Natural Gas Prices

Average prices ($ per thousand cubic feet; 12-month moving average) for the 12 months ended February 2023 and changes from the previous 12-month period for each end user:

Residential Commercial Industrial
CA, February 2023 $21.87 $17.22 $16.39
CA, February 2022 $17.46 $12.95 $10.63
Change 25.3% 33.0% 54.2%
Rest of US, February 2023 $12.81 $10.05 $10.09
Rest of US, February 2022 $12.75 $9.40 $5.74
Change 0.5% 6.9% 75.8%
CA premium over Rest of US, February 2023 70.7% 71.3% 62.4%
CA premium over Rest of US, February 2022 36.9% 37.8% 85.2%