Dec 09, 2019

California faces a swelling crisis of affordability, and the effects are playing out harshly in Los Angeles.

The state’s gas prices are nearly $1.40 higher than the national average – and in Los Angeles the average price has shot above $4 per gallon. Local news outlets are reporting prices reaching $5 per gallon at some stations.

The severe lack of affordable housing has pushed California to a record homelessness population – a quarter of all the homeless in the entire United States now live in California. In Los Angeles, the homeless population is up 16% over just last year.

According to a 2019 analysis, Los Angeles has pricier average utility bills than New York, San Francisco and San Diego.

Yet in the face of this affordability crisis, LA leaders are still pursuing policies that would continue to raise costs for residents.

The city council is considering new measures to restrict oil production – despite the science showing no need for increased regulation of the industry, a fact the city’s own petroleum administrator confirmed in a report this summer. Los Angeles oil producers already operate under the most stringent environmental and public health regulations in the world, and experts agree limiting local oil production would mean more foreign oil imports and higher gas prices.

A recent economic analysis of local Green New Deal policies proposed by Mayor Garcetti earlier this year found the plan would cost the average household $6,000 in new costs per year and eliminate over 60,000 jobs. Garcetti’s Green New Deal calls for the elimination of the oil and gas industry in Los Angeles – an execution of the false philosophy that emissions can be reduced by limiting the local supply of oil (an idea that California economists roundly reject).

In addition to providing high paying jobs and billions in local and state tax revenues each year, local oil and gas production can help keep out of control household costs in check. Affordable and reliable in-state sources of energy help heat homes, power businesses, and fuel our transportation – providing positive impacts that enable regional and state economies to thrive.

The pursuit of a sustainable, green city is a worthwhile goal that everyone supports. But Los Angeles leaders must recognize the affordability crisis their residents are facing before pursuing policies that will raise household costs even further.