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LA Gas Prices Hit Record High

Could a new transition to winter-blend fuel bring prices down?

Gas prices in Los Angeles rose to a record high Monday, with the average price of a gallon of self-serve unleaded gas reaching $4.703, the highest in the nation.

Gasoline prices have raised 51.9 cents per gallon in the past six days. The average price is 52.5 cents more than a month ago, and 91.3 cents more than a year ago, according to the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

(Photo by ATVN)
(Photo by ATVN)

The average price of a gallon of gasoline jumped 3.5 cents on Sunday alone; however, Monday’s increase of only .07 cents indicates that this expensive trend may be turning around.

On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown called for the California Air Resources Board to allow oil refineries to transition to winter-blend gasoline immediately. Winter-blend fuel, which is typically less expensive, is traditionally not sold until Nov. 1st.

According to Jeffrey Spring, of the Automobile Club of Southern California, the anticipation of the switch to winter-blend fuel was a significant contributing factor to the recent increase in prices. The foresight caused local refineries to reduce production levels, export gasoline to other countries, and allow their own supply to diminish. 

The exorbitant prices were also the result of a power failure last Monday at Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery, and the closure of a Chevron pipeline, which is responsible for transporting crude oil to Northern California, according to Spring. He explained that these combined events sent the market “into a panic about the adequacy of California fuel supplies.”

Gov. Brown also called for the Torrance refinery to resume work as soon as possible, in hopes that it would add to the state’s supply of gasoline.

California, as a state, has the nation’s highest gasoline prices currently. One Big Sur gas station had prices of $5.89 on Monday, according to

Comparing this price to $3.21, the lowest price in South Carolina, the state with the lowest average per gallon, a California driver pays $2.69 more per gallon. The same driver travelling 300 miles per week, getting 20 miles to the gallon would spend $2,100 more a year in California.

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