The current price of gas in California is the highest of any state in the nation. Experts say that’s due to rapid shifts in the global economy along with long commute times, high gas taxes, and strict emissions regulations in the Golden State.
When President Biden announced a ban on Russian gas and oil imports on March 8, 2022, drivers across the nation saw a sudden jump in already-high gas prices. With demand up and supply drastically diminished following the height of the COVID-19, the US gas industry is in a moment of crisis—and that crisis is especially severe in California.
That’s why we've
created a guide to California’s skyrocketing gas prices. We’ll go over what experts have to say along with some tips to save money on car-related expenses.
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What is the average price of gas in California?
AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in California is $5.696 as of April 2022. That’s more than $1.50 more than the national average of $4.114/gal.
If you’re going for anything other than regular unleaded at the pump, you’re looking at an even higher price. Here’s how the price of gas in California breaks down by grade:
If you’ve got a truck with a diesel engine or a car that relies on premium fuel, those numbers might look scary.
Which city in California has the highest gas prices?
Of course, those averages aren’t equal across the whole state—and California is a big state!
San Luis Obispo, along with
Paso Robles, holds the dubious distinction of California’s highest gas prices: $5.890/gal for regular gas, and as high as $6.567/gal for diesel.
You’ll find lower prices on average in Northern California and the Central Valley, with averages in Glenn and Sierra Counties as low as $5.257/gal and $5.359/gal, respectively.
Why are gas prices in California so high?
Why are gas prices so high in California, while drivers in
Texas pay as little as $3.75/gal?
As it turns out, there are a lot of answers to that question. For one thing, California has some of the highest emissions regulations in the country—great news for the environment, but terrible news when it’s time to fill up the tank. Those emissions regulations, along with unusually steep
gas taxes, keep the cost of a gallon higher in the Golden State than elsewhere in the country.
California is also what Kevin Slagle, Vice President of Strategic Communications for the Western States Petrol Association, calls a “fuel island.” That means that, unlike most other states, California has no interstate pipelines bringing crude oil across state lines. Cut off from the resources other states enjoy, California pays the price at the pump.
Finally, Californians are dealing with a problem of scale. The state’s residents own more cars than any other state, with 14.2 million vehicles registered in the state as of 2019. Californians are also notorious for enduring long commute times, well beyond the national average of 26.4 minutes. Of the 10 US cities with the longest average commute times, four are in California:
Palmdale: 85.4 min average round-trip commute; 35% of population commutes over two hours per day
Corona: 73.4 min average round-trip commute; 23.6% of population commutes over two hours per day
Santa Clarita: 69.8 min average round-trip commute; 19.7% of population commutes over two hours per day
Moreno Valley: 68.6 min average round-trip commute; 17.1% of population commutes over two hours per day
Those power commutes and those millions of cars drive up demand for gas—and with it, fuel costs. Even apart from the unexpected highs and lows of the post-pandemic global economy, California’s in a world of its own when it comes to gas prices.
How to deal with California’s gas prices
So what’s the solution? Should you throw up your hands and move out of California, or resign yourself to pouring thousands of your hard-earned dollars down your car’s gas port?
Not necessarily. California’s gas prices might be intimidating, but there are ways to manage the burden high fuel costs can put on your budget. Follow these simple money hacks, and you can adapt to the spikes in California gas prices.
Stay on top of maintenance: When you’re paying $65 to $90 just to fill up the tank, you might be tempted to skip that $30 oil change. Don’t. Keeping up with your
car maintenance schedule can prevent bigger expenses down the road.
Learn some DIY car repair skills: For big problems like a failing transmission or broken
fuel pump, it’s best to go to a professional. But learning to change your air filters and wiper blades, flush your radiator fluid, and replace your spark plugs could reduce your ownership expenses.
car loan: Loan payments are one of the biggest monthly expenses for most car owners, but you can reduce them by refinancing your loan with a new lender. Not sure how to start? Jerry offers
auto refinancing services to users who shop for insurance in the app!
Go electric: California may have the nation’s highest gas prices, but its electric vehicle infrastructure is among the best in the country—and you could get up to $7,000 in incentives if you buy a new electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Switch insurance companies: Insurance rates shift just like gas prices. That’s why experts recommend drivers to
shop for car insurance every 6 months—and with help from Jerry, it could take just 45 seconds!
Save money on car insurance in California
If California gas prices have your bank account gasping for air, there’s a solution—lots of them. Two of the fastest are shopping for car insurance and refinancing your auto loan with
Jerry’s more than a personal insurance shopper and more than a refinance broker. It’s the world’s first super app for car owners and the hero Californians need at the pump. In just 45 seconds, you could find a new low insurance premium from one of the country’s top providers. Refinancing your auto loan with Jerry is almost as quick!
In the end, it’s the savings that matter, and they’re solid: on average, Jerry users save over $800 a year on car insurance alone.
Jerry quoted me a price that saved me almost $4000 a year in California! I definitely recommend Jerry.” —Patricia B.
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