07/25/2024

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California Energy Price Data for March 2024

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Below are the monthly updates from the most current March 2024 fuel price data (GasBuddy.com) and January 2024 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.

California Energy Costs Continue to Rise

The state’s energy policies continued to push prices ever higher.  In January on a 12-month moving average basis, residential electricity rates rose to the second highest among the contiguous states, while industrial rates rose to the highest.  Commercial rates already were the highest and remained at this level.  Natural gas rankings also moved up for residential and commercial rates, while gasoline and diesel remained the highest in the nation.  As we reported earlier this week, California’s economic performance remains weaker than the national average, and the state’s ruinous energy policies driving up costs for both households and employers is a key element behind this trend.

Energy Price (12-month moving average; fuels monthly) Rank Among Contiguous States
Current Month Previous Month
Residential Electricity Rate 2nd 3rd
Average Residential Electricity Bill 17th 17th
Commercial Electricity Rate 1st 1st
Industrial Electricity Rate 1st 2nd
Residential Natural Gas Rate 8th 9th
Commercial Natural Gas Rate 6th 6th
Industrial Natural Gas Rate 5th 6th
Gasoline 1st 1st
Diesel 1st 1st

While diesel prices remained largely stable in March, gasoline continued to move higher as the refineries shift to the more costly summer formulation and as world crude prices renewed their climb.  Prices will also rise even higher under yet another fuel tax increase scheduled for July.

Inflation Eases in January

2.7%
Annual Increase in
California CPI

For the 12 months ending January, the California CPI rose 2.7%, up from 3.4% in November.  In the same period, the US CPI dipped 3.1% from 3.4% in December.

Price increases, however, vary by consumption expenditure.  Using the same formula applied by Department of Finance in calculating the California CPI, Food Away from Home (restaurants and take out) continues to exhibit much higher price increases as business costs continue to rise especially for energy and labor.  In a harbinger of the cost increases yet to come from the state’s new $20 an hour minimum wage beginning in April, Food Away from Home rose 5.2% over the year in January.

 

California vs. Rest of US Fuel Price Gap at 48% Premium

$1.62
Price Per Gallon
Above Other States
(CA Average)

The March average price per gallon of regular gasoline in California rose 31 cents from February to $4.99.  The California regulatory and tax premium above the average for the US other than California ($3.37) rose to $1.62, a 48.0% difference.

1st
Ranked by
price

In March, California had the highest gasoline price among the contiguous states and DC.  Californians paid $1.95 a gallon more than consumers in Mississippi, the state with the lowest price.

California vs. Rest of US Diesel Price

$1.45
Price Per Gallon
Above Other States
(CA Average)

The March average price per gallon of diesel in California essentially stayed level with only a 0.5 cent increase from February to $5.39.  As prices eased marginally in the other states, the California regulatory and tax premium above the average for the US other than California ($3.94) edged up to $1.45, a 36.8% difference.

1st
Ranked by
price

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

Range Between Highest and Lowest Prices by Region

$1.75
Price per Gallon
above Other States
(Central Sierra Region)

The cost premium above the US (other than California) average price for regular gasoline ranged from $1.51 in the Central Valley Region (average March price of $4.88), to $1.75 in Central Sierra Region (average March price of $5.12).

Highest/Lowest Fuel Prices by Legislative District:

March 2024: Average Price ($ per gallon) of Regular Gasoline
Highest Lowest
CD02 Huffman (D) $5.20 CD25 Ruiz (D) $4.89
CD11 Pelosi (D) $5.14 CD09 Harder (D) $4.89
CD15 Mullin (D) $5.14 CD22 Valadao (R) $4.84
CD30 Schiff (D) $5.13 CD21 Costa (D) $4.84
CD36 Lieu (D) $5.12 CD01 LaMalfa (R) $4.83
<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
SD24 Allen (D) $5.17 SD12 Grove (R) $4.91
SD02 McGuire (D) $5.16 SD23 Ochoa Bogh (R) $4.90
SD13 Becker (D) $5.14 SD14 Caballero (D) $4.90
SD39 Atkins (D) $5.13 SD05 Eggman (D) $4.89
SD11 Wiener (D) $5.12 SD16 Hurtado (D) $4.83
<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
AD02 Wood (D) $5.21 AD47 Wallis (R) $4.86
AD51 Zbur (D) $5.21 AD22 Alanis (R) $4.85
AD21 Papan (D) $5.16 AD31 Arambula (D) $4.83
AD17 Haney (D) $5.15 AD03 Gallagher (R) $4.82
AD44 Friedman (D) $5.15 AD35 Bains (D) $4.81

California Residential Electricity Price

91.8%
Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Residential Price for the 12 months ended January 2024 was 29.13 cents/kWh, 91.8% higher than the US average of 15.19 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s residential prices rose to the 2nd highest among the contiguous states and DC.

California Residential Electricity Bill

17th
Ranked by Cost

For the 12 months ended January 2024, the average annual Residential electricity bill in California was $1,710, or 72.0% higher ($716) 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 21.2% ($289).

In 2010, California had the 9th lowest residential electricity bill among the contiguous states and DC. In the latest data, it had the 17th highest.

Residential bills, however, vary widely by region.  Transforming the 2022 data recently released by the Energy Commission, estimated annual household usage is as much as 82% higher in the interior regions compared to the milder climate coastal areas, and substantially higher when comparing across counties.

$11.5b
Premium Above
Average Price in
Other States

For the 12 months ended January 2024, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Residential ratepayers paying $11.5 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 $15.0 billion more.

California Commercial Electricity Price

104.3%
Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Commercial Price for the 12 months ended January 2024 was 24.02 cents/kWh, 104.3% higher than the US average of 11.76 cents/kWh for all states other than California.  California’s commercial prices again were the highest among the contiguous states and DC.

California Industrial Electricity Price

148.7%
Above Average for
Rest of US

California average Industrial Price for the 12 months ended January 2024 was 19.00 cents/kWh, 148.7% higher than the US average of 7.64 cents/kWh for all states other than California. California’s industrial prices rose to the highest among the contiguous states and DC.

$18.6b
Premium Above
Average Price in
Other States

For the 12 months ended January 2024, California’s higher electricity prices translated into Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paying $18.6 billion more than ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy.  Compared to the lowest rate states, Commercial & Industrial ratepayers paid $23.9 billion more.

California Natural Gas Prices

Average prices ($ per thousand cubic feet; 12-month moving average) for the 12 months ended January 2024 and changes from the previous 12-month period for each end user:

Residential Commercial Industrial
CA, January 2024 $19.12 $14.78 $12.11
CA, January 2023 $20.22 $15.67 $13.65
Change -5.4% -7.7% -11.3%
Rest of US, January 2024 $14.72 $10.07 $3.75
Rest of US, January 2023 $12.46 $9.81 $7.08
Change 18.1% 2.7% -43.5%
CA premium over Rest of US, January 2024 29.9% 46.8% 222.9%
CA premium over Rest of US, January 2023 62.3% 63.3% 105.6%