There has been a barrage of complaints by California politicians and consumer groups about our high gasoline prices. The average price for regular in California is about $5.57 per gallon vs. a U.S. average of $3.77 per gallon. Part of the reason for this disparity is that California is the only state with a “CARB” gasoline mandate, which has created a virtual gasoline production monopoly. There are 125 refineries producing gasoline in the U.S., but the California Energy Commission lists only 10 refineries that can produce CARB gasoline.
The CARB mandate means that refinery problems such as breakdowns or required maintenance cannot be offset by gasoline imports from other states or overseas. Less supply translates into higher prices.