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California Gas Prices Surge to an Average of $5.39

California Gas Prices Surge to an Average of $5.39

Apr 11, 2024

California Gas Prices Surge to an Average of $5.39

California motorists are facing record-breaking gasoline prices as the average cost per gallon has soared to $5.39 on April 10, marking the largest one-week increase of nearly 20 cents for 2024. The spike in prices, which is causing concern among consumers, is attributable to a confluence of factors impacting the state's fuel supply chain.

Marie Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California, has attributed the unprecedented price hike to several contributing events. "The bad news is that we are seeing some record run-ups for this year," Montgomery stated. She further explained that the Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices have seen a rise of over $1 from their lowest point this year.

The primary cause of the shortage is the seasonal maintenance at California's oil refineries. This routine springtime procedure has been compounded by unplanned outages, resulting in reduced production. In addition, California's requirement for a special 'eco-friendly' summer-blend fuel, which is produced exclusively within the state, limits the availability of alternative sources to meet demand.

Montgomery also pointed out that the scarcity of local gas supplies has led retailers to import fuel from overseas, further escalating costs. Despite the surge in prices, Californians continue to purchase gasoline, which in turn contributes to the upward pressure on prices.

"Hopefully, people will really start thinking about their usage and the trips they need to take, and all of those things," Montgomery remarked. "When they fill up at the gas station, in some cases, people are having to spend triple digits to fill their tank. That’s when it hits you."

The American Automobile Association reported that as of Wednesday, the average price per gallon of regular gas in Los Angeles and Long Beach reached $5.34, which is 16 cents more than the previous week and 41 cents higher than the same date in the prior year. Orange County saw slightly lower prices at $5.31 per gallon. San Francisco's average price per gallon hit $5.65, while Mono County recorded the state's highest at $6.04 per gallon.

Comparatively, the average cost of gasoline in California is nearly $2 more than the national average of $3.60 per gallon. Industry experts like Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, predict that while prices may continue to rise in the short term, there is potential for them to drop by Memorial Day weekend. However, De Haan cautioned that California's regulations, high state gas taxes, cap-and-trade charges, and the dwindling number of refineries capable of producing the state-mandated fuel blend are all factors that exacerbate the situation.

De Haan further explained that unlike other states, California cannot easily import fuel due to a lack of infrastructure such as pipelines. "Over the next six weeks, I do think prices will go up, but I’m hopeful by June it will start settling down," he said, expressing optimism that prices might fall below the $5 mark by the end of summer.

The Epoch Times Article


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