Gas Prices Are Higher Than the Federal Minimum Wage in Some Parts of California

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A photo of gas prices in Los Angeles, California on March 25.

A photo of gas prices in Los Angeles, California on March 25.
Photo: Mario Tama (Getty Images)

Gas prices continued their march into previously unseen territory on Tuesday, though thankfully the increases have been smaller than past weeks. Fuel costs all went up a fraction of a cent; the national average for regular gas is still $4.60 per gallon, according to AAA. Mid-grade and premium fuels also went up fractions of a penny. Meanwhile, diesel went down about half a cent. It’s now about three cents off of the record high set last week. As usual, the fuel price situation is worst in California.

Throughout this whole ordeal, California has consistently had the highest fuel prices in the country, by a lot. Now, as CBS News reports, in some parts of California a gallon of gas actually costs more than the federal minimum wage.

For those playing along at home, the federal minimum hourly wage is a disgustingly-low $7.25. Luckily for Californians, that state’s minimum wage is $14 an hour. Still, if you’re visiting California from out of state, you could end up paying more for a gallon of gas than you make in an hour. And as CBS News explains, California’s fuel pricing is a mystery even to those who study the matter.

On average, California drivers are paying more for gas than drivers in any other state, according to AAA. The reason is partly due to higher taxes to pay for infrastructure and other costs, but there’s also something that economist Severin Borenstein of the University of California, Berkeley, calls a “mystery gasoline surcharge,” or a price gap that can’t entirely be explained by fees or other factors.

These are the stations with gas prices of at least $7.25:

  • Chevron at 901 N. Alameda St. in Los Angeles: $7.83 a gallon
  • Chevron at 51557 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.39 a gallon
  • Chevron at 712 North CA-127 in Shoshone: $7.39 a gallon
  • Shell at 453 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.39 a gallon
  • Valero at 377 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.35 a gallon
  • Mobil at 8489 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles: $7.29 a gallon
  • Shell at 51424 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon
  • Mobil at 22 Vista Point Drive in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon
  • Chevron at 3600 Alameda Drive in Menlo Park: $7.25 a gallon

So, I guess try to avoid those stations if you can.

Let’s take a look at who’s got the highest and lowest gas prices in the country.

Here are the highest average fuel prices in the country:

  • California – $6.07 Regular | $6.27 Mid | $6.40 Premium | $6.58 Diesel
  • Hawaii – $5.40 Regular | $5.59 Mid | $5.83 Premium | $5.88 Diesel
  • Nevada – $5.25 Regular | $5.47 Mid | $5.67 Premium | $5.55 Diesel
  • Washington – $5.21 Regular | $5.41 Mid | $5.60 Premium | $5.77 Diesel
  • Alaska – $5.19 Regular | $5.39 Mid | $5.58 Premium | $5.30 Diesel

Here are the lowest average fuel prices in the country:

  • Oklahoma – $4.07 Regular | $4.35 Mid | $4.58 Premium | $5.13 Diesel
  • Kansas – $4.07 Regular | $4.31 Mid | $4.59 Premium | $5.17 Diesel
  • Arkansas – $4.12 Regular | $4.41 Mid | $4.71 Premium | $5.22 Diesel
  • Georgia – $4.14 Regular | $4.49 Mid | $4.85 Premium | $5.26 Diesel
  • Minnesota – $4.16 Regular | $4.39 Mid | $4.73 Premium | $5.27 Diesel

Go get a taco, it’s Tuesday. See you for Wine Wednesday tomorrow.

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