Gas Prices Spike Across California, Strengthen the Case for High Speed Rail
By Robert Cruickshank
After a brief respite at the end of the summer, gas prices in California are rising sharply, with shortages being reported in Southern California.
Gas prices in Southern California jumped 9 cents overnight Wednesday into Thursday, and experts say they'll continue to rise. Thursday saw the largest single-day increase in average price ever, DeHaan said….
The current situation has been exacerbated by a power outage at a refinery in Torrance on Monday that halted production. It follows a power outage and weeklong shutdown at a refinery in Wilmington in mid-September.
"We have definitely heard from our members that they are unable to get unbranded fuel at some terminals in California and that the roof has blown off the price of unbranded fuel," McKeenan said….
Costco in Simi Valley closed its gas station Thursday after running out of supplies and will remain closed until further notice.
While this particular spike seems the product of unusual circumstances, we know that the underlying factors remain clear: gas prices will continue to rise, as they have for the last 10 years. In October 2002 the average price of a gallon of gas in California was $1.55. Today it's nearly $3 more, at $4.49. While prices have fluctuated since the great spike of 2008, at no time have prices in California been below $3 per gallon for any extended length of time.
As global oil production peaks, supplies will begin to become less reliable. Shortages and rising prices will become, slowly and over time, a more frequent part of daily life. And that makes the provision of electrified alternatives, including high speed rail, all the more important.
Anti-HSR folks always assume that the status quo will last forever. It hasn’t even lasted 10 years. The trends are clear - gas prices are going to continue rising. California's economy will be strangled by rising prices, and the only way out is to move to non-oil based methods of travel. There's no excuse for delay. The cost of doing nothing is far greater than the cost of acting.
Robert Cruickshank writes on California politics at Calitics and California High Speed Rail Blog. This article was originally published at California High Speed Rail Blog.