The State of California Is Not Paying the Price It Should

Experts shred Gavin Newsom’s blame game for California’s high gas prices. Now, he blames the state on its knees.

If there’s one thing Californians tend to avoid, it’s political blame. But there’s no escape from the fact that the state of California is doing quite as badly as the country and the world as a whole. The governor is the latest in a long line of public officials, including mayors and senators and governors and presidents, to insist that the problem lies with the state’s voters.

Gavin Newsom, governor of the state of California, has made it clear that his role in the high cost of gas is not limited to his personal consumption tax hike. In fact, many have drawn a moral line between his $8-a-gallon gas tax increase and the state’s general fiscal mismanagement, as exemplified by the state’s staggering $35 billion budget deficit.

But there is a darker truth here that even those who refuse to take sides in his fight with lawmakers are willing to recognize: Californians are getting more value than they’re paying for. And the public is getting shortchanged on that bargain.

The latest example of this public perception is a newly released study showing that California drivers actually pay less for gas than their counterparts in Massachusetts.

“The average price in the state of Massachusetts was $1.62 last week and $1.80 in California,” said a report issued Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group. “During this six-month period, consumers in Massachusetts paid an average of $1.60 while consumers in California paid an average of $2.50.”

The American Petroleum Institute study cited state data on gasoline prices from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing that in January, California consumers paid a record $2.92 per gallon when prices were $3.13 in Massachusetts; they paid $2.63 when prices were $3.06 in New York and $2.61 in Connecticut.

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