The oil industry tactic of blaming CA for not allowing more refineries is specious, at best. Arizona has zero refineries and their gas prices are FAR lower before tax.
I just did a little spreadsheet to calculate some things. CA has a population of around 40.02 million with 19 refineries. That’s about 2.1 million people served by each refinery.
At first glance, states like Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah seem to have massive amounts of refining per capita, coming in at about 2.7mil, 700K, and 640K, respectively. But factoring in Colorado (with its single refinery for its 5.76 million inhabitants), and as stated before Arizona with no refineries at all, we get a ratio of 2.1 million inhabitants per refinery for the region. Hmmm, where have I seen that number before?
Similarly, Washington state has 5 refineries — but Oregon and Idaho have none. So the three state region of 13.7 million people works out to 2.1 million people served by each refinery. Again, the same ratio as California and the AZ/CO/NM/NV/UT region.
Yet CA wholesale petroleum prices FAR exceed the prices in other regions. It’s not a lack of refineries. It’s not supply and demand. This is price gouging, pure and simple.