LOS ANGELES—Here in the land of perpetually jammed freeways, filling up downtown sets you back $5.09 a gallon. While the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.36, you’d be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than $4 in L.A.
Californians are used to paying some of the highest energy prices in the country, especially in this sprawling city. Not coincidentally, they’re also living in the state most committed to combatting climate change, slashing fossil-fuel consumption, and ramping up renewable energy.
There appear to be some cracks in the organization’s armor. Fueling California’s board of directors once included representatives from United Airlines, Walmart, UPS, Chevron and others. But Fueling California’s website no longer lists the board of directors at all, and Walmart confirmed it is no longer involved.
As Congress considers scaling back or abolishing U.S. rules that mandate the use of renewable fuels, it has the full-throated support of the petroleum industry — with one major exception.
BP, one of the world’s biggest oil companies by revenue, is part of a joint venture with DuPont that is set to start producing a new alternative fuel by the end of the year. In order to preserve a market for that fuel, its officials are busy in Washington trying to persuade lawmakers that the current system doesn’t need an overhaul.
Gas prices have steadily dropped for nearly a month in Los Angeles County, but a new government energy report shows that families are spending more to fuel up now than in previous years.
The average household spent almost $3,000 — or just under 4 percent of income before taxes — on buying gasoline in 2012, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report released last month.