CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Summer driving season is upon us, and both traveling and oil industry experts predict despite high gas prices, Americans won't hold back plans for vacations or weekend trips this year.
But does where you fill up hit harder than other places in the country?
Does the west coast traditionally have higher gas prices than the east coast?
Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy
Yes, the west coast traditionally sees higher gas prices than the east coast.
WHAT WE FOUND
Looking at the latest data from AAA, the average cost for a gallon of gas on the west coast is about $5.50.
East coast states show, on average, about $4.62 for a gallon of unleaded.
Why the disparity?
"Generally speaking, Oregon and Washington, they have above-average taxes," said De Haan. "California is the only state with average prices over $6 for gasoline, and part of it is stringent requirements, high taxes, and the carbon management program."
The cheapest region in the U.S. to fill up? Those states close to Gulf Coast oil refineries.
"Areas like Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas because not only do they have low taxes, but they're also very close to wells and refineries and pipelines," said De Haan.
De Haan continues to reiterate that a gas shortage is not to blame for the current high prices at the pump.
"It was born out of COVID: everyone stopped driving, everything was shut down...oil prices plummeted...and that caused oil companies to shut down drilling," said De Haan. "But now, because of vaccines, the economy's basically fully reopened. But oil companies are trying to hire people, trying to increase drilling."
De Haan said even if President Joe Biden issued thousands of drilling permits overnight and built dozens of more pipelines, "guess what, that doesn't do anything overnight, because it takes time for that to happen."
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