During early October, California hit an all-time high average gasoline price of $4.61 per gallon (over $5 in some areas of the state). We have been paying prices at around 70 cents per gallon above the national average. Refinery shutdowns reduce supply when they occur, as do state-mandated environmental pollution-reduction seasonal blend switchovers.
In each case, prices spike higher at the pump, as well as for distributors and station owners at the wholesale level.
Add to our regional problems the national environmental regulatory restrictions placed on exploration and production, and we have a man-made economic disaster. Of further consequence is the severe adverse effect on the ability of distributors and stations to maintain strong profit margins and for middle-class consumers to make ends meet.