Steven Greenhut, western region director at the R Street Institute think tank, was even more blunt in his criticism of California’s overall energy policy and its gas price-gouging law.

“[Gov.] Newsom and Democrats in this state have been playing this game of trying to blame price gouging for our exceedingly high prices,” he said. “They’re pushing this idea that it’s corporate greed. It’s amazing how the refiners are less greedy in other parts of the country than they are in California.”

Several other factors are responsible for the state’s high gas prices, Greenhut said.

“It’s not hard to trace California’s high prices,” he continued, noting the state’s special blend of gas, which is formulated to reduce pollutants and makes it more difficult to import gas from other states, as well as high gas taxes and banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

Washington, following California’s lead, also plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

“So, if you are a refiner, you would probably not be investing in more capacity when the state is trying to put you out of business,” Greenhut said. “So that all reduces supply and we end up with prices well above the national average.”

He has no confidence in the state’s gas price-gouging law or that any such law would work better in Washington.

“And I don’t think commissions, new regulatory bodies and new reporting requirements, I don’t think in and of themselves … are going to do much one way or the other, but it’s yet another regulatory hurdle, another way that this state is signaling to refiners that they don’t want them here,” Greenhut concluded.