Opinion: Can California fight climate change and high gas prices?

Gas prices at a Chevron station in San Marcos in San Diego County on Oct. 22.
(Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune)

It has been said that California leads the nation in fighting climate change. This may be true, but there’s one personality trait about Californians at odds with that image: We get angry about expensive gasoline.

In response to a news article on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that the state will investigate possible market manipulation by gasoline retailers who sell their product at a considerable markup here compared to other states, nearly all letter writers took the position that expensive fuel is something that ought to be avoided. Only one reader expressed the opinion that we’ll have to pay more for things like gas if we want to blunt the effects of climate change, and that was in response to the letters already published on this topic.

Jay Garbutt of Anaheim Hills says there oughta be a law.


Our Legislature should enact a law allowing gas stations to raise their prices only when their storage tanks are empty and need to be refilled.

It is criminal to allow gas stations to instantly raise their prices because of refinery problems or world events that impact supplies. Why allow owners to gouge us and raise per-gallon prices abruptly when the fuel that is in their storage tanks cost them much less than if they had to pay the new, updated costs to their fuel suppliers?

Make them sell their old fuel at the prices that they paid for it initially before any price increase.

John Sundahl of Woodland Hills faults the anti-pipeline crowd:

I returned from Cleveland, Ohio, earlier this week. The prices for regular unleaded fuel were about $2.45 per gallon versus $4.05 in Los Angeles. They use 10% ethanol as we do. They are a long way from the Gulf Coast refineries and still have reasonable and competitive pricing.

Charging $1.50 more per gallon is highway robbery. The people who stop any new pipeline because they oppose any increase in fossil fuel use only hurt the poor and working class.


Pasadena resident Bob Snodgrass wants fossil fuels to be more expensive:

Reality can be cruel. We all, including your letter writers, would like lower gas prices. But we must face the truth: Climate change is here.

Fire departments are underfunded and understaffed, and storms are more frequent and more severe. Climate change can’t be controlled without reducing fossil fuel use and exploration. We must tax carbon to make fossil fuels, petrochemicals and cattle ranching more expensive.

There are now multiple federal carbon tax proposals in the works, but Congress has avoided voting on them. The best are those that remit revenue to low- and middle-income citizens.

It’s time for congressional action, as our climate problems get worse every year. Reducing our individual carbon footprint is not enough. The carbon clock is ticking. Contact your representative and ask for a vote.