“If you’re going to San-Fran-Cis-Co…wear flowers in your hair” and … bring 20 gallons of gasoline in the trunk.
According to recent reports, California’s gasoline topped an emotionally draining and psychologically damaging $4 per gallon this week.
This happened while the price of a gallon of gasoline everywhere else in our great nation was dropping.
That’s right, happy motorists. The average price of a gallon of a gasoline in the Golden State on Monday was $4.02. The average price per gallon among the remaining 49 states was $2.64.
I know…who needs gasoline when you can take a high-speed train from Merced to Bakersfield?
Good point. But I have never met anyone who was in a rush to get to Bakersfield. Even if the high-speed train was ready to take them, which it’s not. The dream of taking passengers from San Diego to San Francisco at 200 mph has been reduced to 119 miles of track connecting Merced to Bakersfield.
Kind of like finding yourself working at Burger King after spending $200,000 on a finance degree.
After 23 years, nobody can really say for sure how the costs for the “Train to Nowhere” have grown from $33 billion to $77 billion and counting. I read a story where the state auditor said it would take her office six months to answer that question. She did blame “poor contract management” and “flawed decision making,” which is like announcing that an iceberg was responsible for the sinking of the Titanic.
Poor management and flawed decision making aren’t the only reasons Californians pay a dollar more per gallon for gasoline than the rest of us.
Looking to lead the way in environmental protection, California spends more for oil because it’s “special” oil. In fact, there is a summer and winter blend that is more expensive to make, which is why most oil refineries don’t make it.
As a result, California needs to import much of its oil from places where people are blowing up oil refineries, which is always risky and tough to predict.
The recent spike was blamed on the Saudis and … indirectly …Trump. Never mind that the production of oil in Saudi Arabia has been back to full strength for a month.
Then, there are the taxes.
When you’ve blown through billions of tax dollars on a Train to Nowhere and have leaders who like to give stuff away, you need a new Sugar Daddy. The price of a gallon of gasoline in California now includes around 60 cents in taxes (not including federal), the highest in the nation.
The average price per gallon in Oregon this week was a dollar less than California and …they pump your gas for you. And … no … it’s not because Oregonians don’t know where the gas tank is located. They don’t allow you to pump your own gasoline in Oregon because … well … because they don’t want you to get wet.
Washington had the fourth most expensive gasoline ($3.27 per gallon) in the country this week, behind California, Hawaii and Nevada.
All of that will end one day soon because Washington and Oregon eventually follow California’s lead. It usually starts with a, “Hey … did you see what California just did?” in the halls of the state capitol building.
In fact … Washington is chomping at California’s heels when it comes to gas taxes, with an average state tax of almost 50 cents per gallon. Some lawmakers in Olympia are licking their lips at the prospect of raising that to more than 55 cents per gallon, probably pointing to their neighbors to the south as a model.
That’s on top of the federal tax, which stands at around 18 cents per gallon.
The cheapest gasoline prices ($2.27 per gallon average) are in Louisiana, according to a comparison provided by Gas Buddy. You can live a lot cheaper in The Bayou, but eventually insects will eat your brains.
The second highest gasoline prices this week were in Hawaii, but even they were almost 40 cents per gallon cheaper than California. That’s tough to understand, since Hawaii … last I checked … was an island.
The good news for Californians is that when they wake up each day they are in California, which is WAY better than waking up in Cleveland, where gasoline was only $2.37. That’s referred to as a “quid pro quo,” which is Latin for, “I’d rather sit on empty in California than have a full tank in Cleveland.”
Jeff Ackerman is the former publisher of The World. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.