California repeatedly warned about spiking gas prices, fragile supply. But fixes never came. As of a month ago, prices were higher than ever, and now they’re running higher still.
“What’s the point? Our infrastructure has always broken, so that’s it. Once they have a few more storms and nothing can get fixed, then the whole thing is going to collapse,” said David Beeler, a California State senator.
California’s recent earthquakes and wildfires, as well as an economic slowdown in the nation’s second largest economy, have fueled the debate among policymakers about how to control the price of gasoline.
California’s oil-powered vehicles are a major part of the country’s overall gasoline usage, and they account for about 60 percent of the state’s overall transportation needs. The California Energy Commission predicts gas prices of under $2 per gallon this summer, but that’s a big if. There’s little reason to expect an oil spike in the near term, since analysts predict that prices will rise next year, and then another year after that.
Even the state’s elected officials are divided on whether or not to address the issue of gas. On the one hand, they note that California drivers are paying higher prices than drivers in other states, which means the state is paying a disproportionate amount of the nation’s oil bill. “We are the epicenter of the country’s oil supply. We have to take some action, we can’t sit back and let this keep escalating,” said the governor, who favors a statewide gas tax, which also has been supported by the Republicans in his own party.
On the other hand, they point out that gasoline prices are running as high as they have been in any year since President Obama took office in 2009.
“There’s nothing the president can do about that. He can