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California Has the Highest Gas Prices in the Nation and the State Is Totally Governed by the Left

On election eve 2020, President Donald Trump predicted that under a potential President Joe Biden, Americans would be paying seven dollars for gas. For some Californians, that ominous forecast has come true.

Why do we pay the highest gas prices in the nation? Because we are governed exclusively by the Left. More specifically, it’s because we have allowed our taxes to be exorbitant, politicians to overregulate every industry, and radical environmentalism to replace the normal concern for the environment.

Californians pay nearly 30 cents more in taxes per gallon than the average American, and nearly twice as much as those living in tax-happy Massachusetts. In fact, taxes and fees make up $1.18 of what we shell out per gallon, with the state of California imposing a full $1.00 of that burden.

Republicans proposed eliminating the tax for six months, but that proposal was defeated by the Democrat super-majority in Sacramento. (Georgia and Maryland have already provided state tax holidays for their citizens.)

Despite impressive developments in electric and hybrid vehicles, our cars will overwhelmingly run on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Only 30% of our fuel oil comes from in-state, with the rest imported from Alaska and foreign countries, topped by Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. And we have no interstate oil pipelines.

The 1990 Clean Air Act instituted measures regarding reformulated gasoline (RFG), a gasoline blend meant to reduce toxic pollutants and smog. RFG is used in 16 states and accounts for 25% of gasoline sold in the U.S. But in 1999, California went further than any jurisdiction, requiring the sale of the more stringent California Phase 3 RFG (CaRFG3) throughout the state. Few out-of-state sources invest time and resources into creating this unique fuel blend, causing major shortages for Californians.

Compounding the problem, California rejects new and innovative workarounds to its environmental challenges. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is clear, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic, allowing large quantities to be transported safely by pipeline. It is plentiful too. The United States is the top producer of natural gas in the world. In 2020, we exported 2,400 billion cubic feet of LNG via tanker, but such ships never arrive in California. That’s because California does not have a single operating or proposed LNG regassification terminal. As if to underscore how far behind we are, the construction of the first LNG terminal on the Pacific coast is finally underway – in Mexico.

The truth is that solar and wind energy are too unreliable and inefficient to power the cars, electricity, and manufacturing facilities that are essential to our lives and livelihoods.

Over the years and while serving as U.S. Ambassador to Germany, I watched the Green Party convince Christian Democrat party Chair and Chancellor Angela Merkel into destroying their domestic fossil fuel and nuclear industries. The result was a dangerous dependence on Russian fossil fuels that rendered her country impotent when Putin invaded Ukraine. The same is already happening in the U.S., with President Joe Biden having increased Russian crude oil imports 24% to an all-time high of 245,000 barrels in 2021. Now that he has cut off that Russian supply, he refuses to tap our domestic sources, instead begging Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran to plug the gap. Does he think that oil is somehow less dirty when it comes from authoritarian regimes?

National gas price averages will always fluctuate due to federal regulations on drilling and pipelines, as well as international geopolitical events; but we have imposed our own structural handicaps that mean Californians will always pay more than other Americans.

Any purported state budget windfall for infrastructure and transportation projects is offset by an ever-shrinking budget for the average citizen driver to make ends meet for their family. And current leftist tricks like one-time rebates of $200 or $400 would evaporate quickly. The only solution is to permanently fix the supply problem – and that starts with the Left which controls Sacramento.

We should be proud of having reduced the unsightly and unhealthy smog in our coastal cities since the 1990s, but we have taken our boutique gasoline blends to extreme levels where cost and supply impact us negatively. California’s environmental regulations are far stricter than required by even the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

We must throw off the shackles of the environmental extremists and provide practical energy solutions for our citizens. LNG is plentiful in the United States and easy to transport. It is a clean and practical alternative that will decrease our dependence on dangerous regimes.

In short, we must remove and repeal a generation of radical Left energy policies.

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