06/26/2022

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California Energy Price Data for March 2022

Below are the monthly updates from the March 2022 fuel price data (GasBuddy.com) and January 2022 electricity and natural gas price data (US Energy Information Administration).

This latest data continues to reflect the run-up in oil and natural gas costs, with the highest gasoline and diesel prices on record. With a greater lag of two months, the electricity and natural gas prices only begin to reflect the economic effects on households and employers throughout the state. Diesel in particular at 26.2% premium above prices in other states but gasoline as well at 40.6% premium also feed into the state’s rising overall inflation, as the cost to produce and deliver goods and services rises as well.

The most recent data from CSAA show only minor easing in prices, with the US average at $4.15 a gallon on Thursday compared to the $4.24 average in March. California’s prices remain stickier at $5.81 on Thursday compared to $5.79 in March as the result of circumstances arising out of the state’s policies essentially walling off the California fuel market from the rest of the nation and the world. Issues at refineries particularly in Southern California have affected production during this critical changeover to the summer formulations under state regulations. While these events have not been as severe as in the past, the supply effects on prices are a continuing consequence of the state’s regulations, as evidenced in the current higher prices being experienced by drivers in the southern part of the state. A strike at Chevron’s refinery in the Bay Area has raised similar concerns, although the company has indicated there have been no production restrictions to date.

The current spike in energy prices is being driven by price and supply instability arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The substantially higher economic costs to California households and employers, however, continue to be the outcome of the state’s energy policy and regulations and only magnify the growing costs and their effects on the costs of living and the costs of doing business.

These rapid cost spikes have led to an increasing number of proposals to offset the direct effect on households—but not in all cases the indirect effects as higher costs on employers become embedded in inflationary effects for goods and services—including proposals within California. While likely to help the current situation, these proposals follow the unfortunately too typical historic response to policy failures. In particular, they reflect the continuing problem of the state’s approach to energy and rising costs in general–attempting to ameliorate the worst effects when they become apparent, but doing so in a way that is incapable of reaching all who are being harmed, and doing so in a way that deals only with the immediate effects rather than policy reforms to prevent them from growing in the future. The most this approach can do is partial relief and even then at high transaction costs that must be filtered through bureaucracies that in recent years especially have proven their incapacity to do so quickly, efficiently, and without waste due to fraud and bureaucratic haste. The state continues to avoid revising the policies that led to this harm in the first place and in California’s case, magnifying that harm.

This reaction is not being followed universally. In a move to diversify their energy supply, the EU recently moved away from a sole reliance on politically determined technologies to incorporate nuclear and natural gas as a means to achieve their emission reductions at lower overall costs. China, instead, has moved away from emission reductions altogether and is shifting back to greater reliance on coal in a recognition that energy supply and costs are fundamental to the direction of economic progress. Others acknowledging fossil fuels will continue to be a major factor in overall energy costs even under their climate programs are now reassessing ways to increase domestic production or shift away from their prior reliance on Russian imports.

Inflation Rising to Highest Since 1982

7.3%
Annual Increase in
California CPI

For the 12 months ending January, the California CPI rose 7.3%, up from 6.5% in December. In the same period, the US CPI rose 7.5%, increasing to 7.9% in February. The US January inflation rate was the highest since February 1982. The California January inflation rate is the highest since June 1982.

California vs. US Fuel Price Gap at 40.6% Premium

$1.67
Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The average price per gallon of regular gasoline in California rose $1.00 from February to $5.79. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($4.12) rose to $1.67, a 40.6% difference.

1st
Ranked By Price

In March, California again had the highest gasoline price among the states and DC. Californians paid $2.02 a gallon more than consumers in Missouri, the state with the lowest price.

California vs. US Diesel Price

$1.30
Price Per Gallon
Above US Average
(CA Average)

The average price per gallon of diesel in California rose $1.21 from February to $6.26. The California premium above the average for the US other than California ($4.96) rose to $1.30, a 26.2% difference.

1st
Ranked By Price

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

Range Between Highest and Lowest Prices by Region

$1.78
Price per Gallon
above US Average
(Los Angeles Region)

The cost premium above the US (other than California) average price for regular gasoline ranged from $1.50 in the Central Valley Region (average price of $5.62), to $1.78 in Los Angeles Region (average price of $5.90).

Highest/Lowest Fuel Prices By Legislative District:

The estimates below cover the 2012 district boundaries. This data along with the other subject areas will be adjusted this year to the recently approved 2022 districts.

March 2022: Average Price ($ per gallon) of Regular Gasoline
LegislatorHighest $ Per Gallon
CD33 (Lieu-D)$6.05
CD28 (Schiff-D)$6.02
CD34 (Gomez-D)$5.97
CD37 (Bass-D)$5.93
CD29 (Cárdenas-D)$5.93
SD26 (Allen-D)$6.04
SD18 (Hertzberg-D)$5.96
SD25 (Portantino-D)$5.96
SD24 (Durazo-D)$5.95
SD30 (Kamlager-D)$5.91
AD50 (Bloom-D)$6.10
AD46 (Nazarian-D)$6.00
AD43 (Friedman-D)$5.97
AD54 (Kamlager-D)$5.96
AD39 (Rivas-D)$5.96
March 2022: Average Price ($ per gallon) of Regular Gasoline
LegislatorLowest $ Per Gallon
CD03 (Garamendi-D)$5.62
CD21 (Valadao-R)$5.62
CD22 (Vacant-)$5.60
CD10 (Harder-D)$5.57
CD16 (Costa-D)$5.56
SD08 (Borgeas-R)$5.64
SD12 (Caballero-D)$5.62
SD05 (Talamantes Eggman-D)$5.61
SD14 (Hurtado-D)$5.59
SD04 (Nielsen-R)$5.58
AD12 (Flora-R)$5.59
AD31 (Arambula-D)$5.58
AD21 (Gray-D)$5.58
AD23 (Patterson-R)$5.57
AD03 (Gallagher-R)$5.53

 

California Residential Electricity Price

75.5%
Above Average For
Rest Of US

California average Residential Price for the 12 months ended January 2022 was 23.03 cents/kWh, 75.5% higher than the US average of 13.12 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s residential prices were the highest among the contiguous states.

California Residential Electric Bill

22nd
Ranked by Cost

For the 12 months ended January 2022, the average annual Residential electricity bill in California was $1,520, or 52.9% higher ($526) 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 9.2% ($125).

In 2010, California had the 9th lowest residential electricity bill in the nation. In the latest data, the average electricity bill in California continued rising to the 22nd 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.

$9.0b
Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended January 2022, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Residential ratepayers paying $9.0 billion more than the average ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy.

California Commercial Electricity Price

82.9%
Above Average For
Rest Of US

California average Commercial Price for the 12 months ended January 2022 was 19.35 cents/kWh, 82.9% higher than the US average of 10.58 cents/kWh for all states other than California, down only marginally from 83.0% higher in December. California’s commercial prices again were the highest among the contiguous states.

California Industrial Electricity Price

120.3%
Above Average For
Rest Of US

California average Industrial Price for the 12 months ended January 2022 was 15.18 cents/kWh, 120.3% higher than the US average of 6.89 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s industrial prices were the 3rd highest among the contiguous states.

$13.5b
Premium Above
US Average Price

For the 12 months ended January 2022, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paying $13.5 billion more than ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy. Compared to the lowest rate states, Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paid $16.9 billion more.

 

California Natural Gas Prices

Average prices ($ per thousand cubic feet) for the 12 months ended January 2022 and changes from the previous 12-month period for each end user are shown below. In January, California residential rates were the 4th highest among the contiguous states, 6th highest for commercial rates, and 3rd highest for industrial rates.

Residential Commercial Industrial
CA, January 2022 $17.36 $12.32 $9.98
CA, January 2021 $14.31 $9.94 $7.57
Change 21.3% 23.9% 31.8%
Rest of US, January 2022 $11.61 $6.80 $5.37
Rest of US, January 2021 $10.42 $7.36 $2.96
Change 11.4% -7.6% 81.4%
CA premium over Rest of US, January 2022 49.5% 81.2% 85.8%
CA premium over Rest of US, January 2021 37.3% 35.1% 155.7%