According to a news clip I just saw, there is a gas station in the Los Angeles area currently selling regular gasoline for $5.58/gallon. Some gas stations are shutting down because the owners don't want to buy gas at these prices for fear that they won't be able to sell it. Prices have been moving higher over the last few months, but the recent increases have fallen like a ton of bricks on consumers.
My immediate response was to check the charts for crude oil and gasoline. We can see from the weekly charts that crude is about midway its five-year range, and has most recently been trending downward.
The chart pattern for gasoline is not suprisingly similar to crude; although gasoline is closer to the top of its five-year range. Nevertheless, it too has been trending down recently. So on a national basis it is not the price of oil or gas that is the culprit behind California's gas crisis.
The problem it seems is that the fragile infrastructure for gasoline production and delivery in California has taken a few hits that have put a crimp in the figurative pipeline. Primarily supplies are drying up because of refinery outages.
Of all the articles I have read on this subject I have not seen a single chart. My purpose in writing this article was mostly to present the charts to people who may be following this story. A lot of inorrect assumptions and conclusions can be avoided by simply looking at the charts first. And we can clearly see that the price increases for gas in California are not related to a sudden rise in crude prices.