Higher gas prices frustrate California drivers

In most of the country, gas prices are dropping again. AAA says a gallon of regular is averaging $2.75 nationwide. The big exception is California, where it's up to $3.87.

Tanner Anderson feels like he's being pumped dry.

"Eighty dollars worth of gas? You gotta be kidding me," he said. "If you're making $8.50 an hour, eight hours a day, that's almost a day's pay."

Consumer advocates blame California's oil refineries, which control the gasoline supply.

"You can hear ka-ching, ka-ching in their bank accounts every time we fill up at the pump, and Californians know it and they're sick of it," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.

In the past 15 years, California oil refineries collected an average of 46.1 cents per gallon of gasoline sold. But with higher pump prices, state data shows in the first six months of this year, that doubled to 88.8 cents.

He was asked if she believes it is collusion or simply price-gouging, or both.

"I don't know if it's collusion. I doubt they had a conversation, because they're not that dumb," said Court. "But I know they're doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time, and it's driving prices through the roof and they're getting rich off of it."

In a statement the refineries said the numbers they report to the state include both "refining costs as well as profits" and "it is impossible to determine what portion of these costs are profits."

Refiners blame high gas prices in part on refinery maintenance and an explosion at an ExxonMobile plant in February that shut down 10 percent of California's refining capacity.

California also has high taxes and environmental regulations that make gas more expensive. There is one very small silver lining: Gas prices in the state did drop overnight by 1 cent per gallon.