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$6 gas: Cause and Effect 101 on why greenhouse gas policies is siphoning green out of your wallet
Dennis Wyatt 2022
Dennis Wyatt

Unleaded gas was $5.99 a gallon on Saturday.

It was a bargain.

Elsewhere in the area it was as high as $6.39.

The California average price per gallon was $6.29 on Thursday.

 Compare that to the national average of $3.79.

You remember $3.79 gallon gas in California, don’t you?

It was back in the good old days circa April 2021 when the state average was $3.81.

That’s right. Californians were paying $2.58 less a gallon for gasoline 18 months ago.

The highest state average in history was four months ago when it was $6.16. It was $5.22 last month.

Do not blame this on Gov. Gavin Newsom.

This was a team effort by the fine folks up in Sacramento.

It is disingenuous, however, for Newsom to hammer Big Oil for this one.

This is the doing of Sacramento.

More precisely it is the direct result of “green” polices designed to save us all.

The honest folks that exist among those who started the Green Rush stampede by edict from the beginning said gas was going to get to $8 plus a gallon and our collective pocketbooks were going to take a big hit in order to reach greenhouse gas goals.

They weren’t lying. They were being brutally honest.

However, many on the bandwagon are trying to shift blame from where most of it belongs — which is on forcing mandates on the likes of PG&E, Big Oil, industry and even housing too rapidly.

Supply and demand as well as tech innovation that reduces costs can’t keep up.

Newsom, if anything, is looking for ways to ease the pain that was put in motion by forces beyond the governor’s office.

In doing so, he is being criticized by green purists that believe he is reneging on green goals.

And of course, he is being hammered by those who get to feel the most pain, whether it is at the pump or when they flip on an HVAC system to cool or heat their homes.

Perhaps Newsom isn’t positioning himself for a run for the White House in 2024. But if he is, Newsom certainly isn’t playing to the party animals in the Democratic base that demand everything become absolutely green by government-imposed dates.

And while rank-and-file Democratic voters he needs to win primaries may not be wedded as absolutely to greenhouse gas goals, most of those who control the party machinery are.

Newsom is not in danger of not being re-elected governor on Nov. 8.

The Democratic party is not in danger of losing its 100 percent grip on state constitutional offices or control of the state Senate and State Assembly.

Newson led the effort to back off shutting down nuclear power for a decade or so. The governor is also allowing an early switch to the less refined winter gas formula known as “reformulated gas” to increase oil refinery output in a bid to ease the pain in prices.

Neither action is earning him brownie points with the hardcore greenies as they are almost universally condemning his actions.

Newsom is doing it because he’s a realist among the green movement.

The price we pay for not addressing greenhouse gas is not abstract— although exactly how it unfolds is not an absolute known.

However, the devastating gas prices and electricity costs are on most Californians is clear.

Like many other air utility regulations, Newsom is playing a balancing act in a bid to help the market — and technology — catch up.

Single stroke gas-powered yard equipment such as leaf blowers was originally scheduled to be banned years ago.

So were a number of other air quality mandates including the end to burning orchard trimmings.

Both drop-dead dates were pushed back so avoid creating chaos.

We need to be clear on one point. California has significantly different in-state air quality issues thanks to large basins such as the Central Valley and the Los Angeles Basin. The accumulative impact of greenhouse gasses on scientific projections is global.

We need to keep that in mind as the impact of reformulated gas, coupled with vehicle mileage requirements clearly have made the air more breathable.

The San Joaquin Valley is the brightest example. Since 1991, most categories of air pollution have been slashed in half while carbon dioxide — which brings with it proportionately more vehicles — has gone up close to 50 percent in the eight-county region.

Newsom clearly is trying to strike a balance between government climate-related edicts “green bombing” California’s to Third World economic status and working to reduce manmade factors that help nudge the climate change needle a bit faster than nature doing so on its own course.

That said, it is government policies and mandates that are the main factors for the current gas price in California.

*Existing refineries due to climate regulations have been shutting down in recent years.

*At the same time, the government is dangling carrots in the form of plush government subsidies to convert refineries to produce biofuels.

*It is why California — which relies 100 percent on refineries within its borders to produce the reformulated gas blend — has lost almost 12 percent of its refinery capacity in a five-year period ending on December of 2021.

*By the end of 2023 another 8 percent of that capacity is expected to be gone for good.

*There are no refineries outside California equipped to produce reformulated gas.
*In order to keep refineries running at an optimum and not generate produce excessive air pollution, it requires routine maintenance.

*It also requires routine maintenance — just like on anything else — to make sure the refineries run smoothly and don’t create problems.

*Then there is 66 cents of what you are paying at the pump when you fork over $6 for a gallon goes to state gas tax, another 48 cents on average goes to sales taxes, and an additional estimated 46 cents covers Big Oil’s for their required participation in California’s cap-and-trade program that allows them to keep running refineries that pollute. That’s $1.60 out of $6.

If the greenies are taking credit for actions they say are going to save the world, they also need to take ownership of the painful side effects they create.

And one of them is paying $6 a gallon for gasoline.