How California chooses higher gas prices

California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are calling for Congressional investigations into the staggering rise of gas prices in California, which have exceeded $5.00 per gallon in some areas. Bring it on. A fresh round of hearings that spotlight the adverse effects of California’s liberal energy policies, the same policies Feinstein and Boxer have pushed for nationwide, would provide the Romney campaign with a fresh exhibit to highlight yet another regressive component of the recently coined “economy tax.”

Gas prices across the country.As you can see from the map above, California’s prices vastly exceed the rest of the country. To ease the price point, Governor Jerry Brown is permitting a cheaper winter fuel mixture to propagate through the market several weeks before California’s usual end-of-October deadline, a tacit acknowledgment that environmental regulations do drive up costs and hurt economic activity. The rest of the country makes the move to the cheaper mixture on September 15th, some six weeks ahead of the Golden State, which means California is chasing a limited supply. This problem was further exacerbated when two refineries went offline due to emergencies and maintenance.

Referring to a price hike on oil sold to Tesoro Corp refineries during this shortage, Senator Feinstein channeled her inner Dr. Seuss, “Was this a squeeze? We do not know.”

On the contrary, Diane, we do, we know.  Continue reading

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