01/28/2023

Reports » Energy Reports

California Energy Price Data for December 2022

Below are the monthly updates from the most current December 2022 fuel price data (GasBuddy.com) and October 2022 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 latest data shows average gasoline prices continuing to decline from the supply-driven price increases earlier this year.  December prices were down 24.6% from the near term high in October, and down 30.1% from the previous high in June. The most recent data from CSAA as of January 6 show prices stabilizing, with the California average price down a penny to $4.44 and the US price up 9 cents to $3.20.

California’s regulations and their effect of restricting the state’s access to alternative supplies combined with the state’s highest-in-the-nation fuel taxes and higher operating costs ensure Californians will continue to pay substantially more for fuels even with the current price easing. As the result of these California policies, gasoline prices in December were 43.3% higher than the average paid in other states. California prices were 63.6% higher than prices in the lowest cost state.

But while the current legislative focus remains on the potential for adding yet another tax onto the cost of producing fuels in this state, California policies continued to push electricity and natural gas costs to even higher levels in the latest data from October. On a moving 12-month average basis, California residential and commercial electricity rates were the highest among the contiguous states, commercial and industrial natural gas rates were the second highest, industrial electricity rates were the third highest, and residential natural gas rates the fourth highest.

California’s high electricity rates have also pushed the average household electricity bill further above the rest of the US.  While California rates have long been somewhat higher than the US average, the state’s milder climate—at least in the higher income coastal regions—meant average electricity bills were substantially lower. The amount paid by households, however, continues to soar. First, average rates are not only higher, they are substantially higher at 82.6% above the average elsewhere in the nation. Second, state policies are deliberately pushing households and employers into a greater reliance on electricity as their primary source of energy. State policies currently are structured to force greater use of an energy source that state policies are now driving to even higher cost levels.

The resulting effect on household electricity bills is shown in the following chart. The average California electricity bill was near the bottom in the state rankings prior to the beginnings of the current climate change policies—as much as 6th lowest in portions of 2011 and 2014. The degree to which rates have since diverged from what is paid in other states have now taken California households to the 16th highest in the latest data from October.

 

Inflation Remains at Highest Level Since 1982

7.3%
Annual Increase in
California CPI

For the 12 months ending October, the California CPI rose 7.3%, easing slightly from 7.6% in September. In the same period, the US CPI rose 7.7%, edging down from 8.1%. Looking at the period prior to 2022, California’s rate was again the highest since June 1982.

California vs. Rest of US Fuel Price Gap at 43.3% Premium

$1.34
Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The December average price per gallon of regular gasoline in California eased 75 cents from November to $4.45. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($3.10) eased to $1.34, a 43.3% difference.

2nd
Ranked By Price

In December, California again had the 2nd highest gasoline price among the states and DC, behind only Hawaii. Californians paid $1.73 a gallon more than consumers in Texas, the state with the lowest price.

California vs. US Diesel Price

$0.94
Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The December average price per gallon of diesel in California eased 49 cents from November to $5.66. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($4.72) was essentially unchanged at 94.3 cents, a 20.0% difference.

3rd
Ranked by Price

In November, California again had the highest diesel price among the states and DC, behind Hawaii and Pennsylvania.

Range Between Highest and Lowest Prices by Region

$1.67
Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(Central Coast Region)


The cost premium above the US (other than California) average price for regular gasoline ranged from $1.19 in the Sacramento Region (average December price of $4.29), to $1.67 in Central Coast Region (average December price of $4.77).

Highest/Lowest Fuel Prices By Legislative District:

November 2022: Average Price ($ per gallon) of Regular Gasoline
LegislatorHighest $ Per Gallon
CD30 Schiff (D)$4.76
CD19 Panetta (D)$4.72
CD24 Carbajal (D)$4.69
CD27 Garcia (R)$4.65
CD02 Huffman (D)$4.65
SD17 Laird (D)$4.77
SD26 Durazo (D)$4.65
SD24 Allen (D)$4.66
SD27 Stern (D)$4.64
SD21 Wilk (R)$4.59
AD30 (Addis-D)$4.88
AD51 (Zbur-D)$4.83
AD44 (Friedman-D)$4.73
AD02 (Wood-D)$4.70
AD35 (Bains-D)$4.67
November 2022: Average Price ($ per gallon) of Regular Gasoline
LegislatorLowest $ Per Gallon
CD01 LaMalfa (R)$4.23
CD07 Matsui (D)$4.23
CD21 Costa (D)$4.22
CD06 Bera (D)$4.13
CD09 Harder (D)$4.12
SD14 Caballero (D)$4.26
SD29 Newman (D)$4.24
SD05 Eggman (D)$4.23
SD08 Ashby (D)$4.19
SD06 Niello (R)$4.19
AD31 (Arambula-D)$4.17
AD22 (Alanis-R)$4.13
AD03 (Gallagher-R)$4.13
AD07 (Hoover-R)$4.10
AD13 (Villapudua-D)$4.08

California Residential Electricity Price

82.6%
Above Average For
Rest of US

California average Residential Price for the 12 months ended October 2022 was 25.98 cents/kWh, 82.6% higher than the US average of 14.23 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s residential prices were again the highest among the contiguous states.

California Residential Electric Bill

16th
Ranked by Cost

For the 12 months ended October 2022, the average annual Residential electricity bill in California was $1,685, or 69.5% higher ($691) 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 16.9% ($231).

In 2010, California had the 9th lowest residential electricity bill in the nation.  In the latest data, California tied with Oklahoma for the 16th highest.

Residential bills, however, vary widely by region, with the estimated annual household usage in the recently released data for 2021 as much as 83% higher in the interior regions compared to the milder climate coastal areas, and substantially higher when comparing across counties.

Applying the 2021 estimated regional average electricity rates, annual electricity bills vary somewhat more widely, with annual costs up to just over twice as large in the interior compared to the coastal regions.

Region 2021 Average Household Electricity Bill
Los Angeles $1,300
Orange County $1,440
Central Coast $1,570
Bay Area $1,600
Sacramento $1,850
San Diego/Imperial $2,000
Inland Empire $2,060
Upstate California $2,330
Central Valley $2,350
Central Sierra $2,650

$10.6b
Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended October 2022, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Residential ratepayers paying $10.6 billion more than the average ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy.

California Commercial Electricity Price

83.8%
Above Average for
Rest Of US

California average Commercial Price for the 12 months ended October 2022 was 21.19 cents/kWh, 83.8% higher than the US average of 11.53 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s commercial prices again were the highest among the contiguous states.

California Industrial Electricity Price

115.0%
Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Industrial Price for the 12 months ended October 2022 was 16.90 cents/kWh, 115.0% higher than the US average of 7.86 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s industrial prices again were the 3rd highest among the contiguous states.

$15.4b
Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended October 2022, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paying $15.4 billion more than ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy. Compared to the lowest rate states, Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paid $20.0 billion more.

California Natural Gas Prices

Average prices ($ per thousand cubic feet; 12-month moving average) for the 12 months ended October 2022 and changes from the previous 12-month period for each end user. California moved up to 2nd highest among the contiguous states for commercial rates, but remained at 4th highest for residential and 2nd highest for industrial rates.

Residential Commercial Industrial
CA, October 2022 $19.41 $15.59 $13.33
CA, October 2021 $15.45 $11.27 $9.03
Change 25.6% 38.3% 47.6%
Rest of US, October 2022 $13.84 $10.73 $7.42
Rest of US, October 2021 $11.06 $8.05 $4.65
Change 25.1% 33.3% 59.6%
CA premium over Rest of US, October 2022 40.2% 45.3% 79.6%
CA premium over Rest of US, October 2021 39.7% 40.0% 94.2%