There is a new push in Washington to lower gas prices that remain high in California.
A Bay Area congressman wants to pause domestic gas exports in an effort to bring down prices at the pump.
Gas prices have gone down recently but are still nearly $6 per gallon in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County.
2022 has been a rollercoaster ride for drivers with gas prices shattering records in California.
“Gas prices reached record levels, then they started going down and once we had issues at those six refineries, we saw that gas prices went up again,” said AAA Spokesperson Anlleyn Venegas.
Prolonged pain at the pump has lawmakers in Washington looking for solutions that will bring some relief to drivers.
“The American people are getting fleeced at the pump, particularly in California,” said Congressman Ro Khanna who introduced the legislation.
House Representative Khanna is a Democrat representing California’s 17th District in Silicon Valley.
He has introduced new legislation that would ban exports of American gas once the national average hits $3.12/gallon or higher for a week straight.
“That’s the single biggest thing we could do to increase the supply for Americans and reduce the price at the pump,” he said.
The Gasoline Export Ban of 2022 is only two pages long and gives the President the authority to put a pause on American gas exports until prices go back down.
“The experts we talk to say it could bring down gas prices almost by a buck. That’s significant and it’s not a permanent ban-- it’s just temporary until the prices come down,” said Khanna.
KSBY reporter Austin Herbaugh asked the congressman why he’s taking this approach as opposed to ramping up domestic production.
“I’m not opposed to a temporary ramp-up of production but that takes years—it takes five years to buy a new refinery,” said Khanna.
“We just can’t ramp up production in a way that’s going to be immediate. We can ban exports in a way that’s going to be immediate.”
Prices in California, meanwhile, are on the decline but remain high and experts say it’s hard to predict what will happen next.
Friday’s national average was at $3.80 a gallon but in California, the average price is $5.48.
“Drivers are gonna be taking road trips during the fall, during the winter because during the summer, they weren’t able to take those trips because of inflation, because of gas prices being at record levels,” said Venegas. “So, that definitely could increase demand and that could have an effect on gas prices, but we’re going to basically just have to wait and see.”
The legislation will specifically apply to gasoline products and will not affect diesel exports.