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Why are California gas prices over $5 a gallon?

California gas prices again soar above $5
California gas prices again soar above $5 02:35

STOCKTON — Pain at the pump is making its return as temperatures start to rise.

The state average for gas prices is now well over five dollars a gallon. California is the only state with an average of over $5.

At a gas station on Eight Mile Road in Stockton, people were met with a $5.69 per gallon price tag. According to economists, Californians are especially vulnerable to these high prices.

"I can't afford gas," said driver Jacob Luis when we told him about the high prices.

"Anything over six, man, and I'm thinking, 'Oh no, they're going up again,' " said driver Tyler Raines.

Dr. Sanjay Varshney, professor of finance with Sacramento State, said prices at the pump are going up because of four main reasons – two that affect the entire nation.

"One, tension in the Middle East, and the war in Ukraine," he said. "Second, we see summer demand going up anyways."

There are two that affect Californians specifically. One is the need to create a summer blend for gas stations that meets state requirements for emissions.

"And we have a very high gas tax," Varshney said. "You take all four and combine them and it's a complete disaster at the pump for the consumer."

Prices show that. According to research by AAA, gas prices in California were down 60 cents compared to last month. Compared to last year, they were down nearly 50 cents.

"Ordinary people are paying the price, not just for global reasons, but more so for local reasons," Varshney said.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration told CBS13 that legislative bodies are working toward some gas relief for Californians, but it could take some time.

For the short term, driving less or using apps like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas around you could save you a bit of money.

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