Gas prices in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area have jumped nearly 8 cents in as many days.
AAA tracked a steady rise in California's statewide average fuel price, which rose about 6 cents in the last eight days to hover at $4.042 on Friday. L.A. and Long Beach prices rose 7.9 cents to $4.12 in that time period, and the Orange County price rose nearly as much -- 7.8 cents -- to $4.10. Ventura's price climbed 7.3 cents to match L.A.'s.
These are still well under the record prices listed by AAA, most of which were set last October. But the local increases play into a larger trend nationwide.
The country's average price for a gallon of regular gasoline reached $3.672 on Friday, its highest since March 22.
"The national average has been trending upwards," said Tom Kloza, an analyst with real-time fuel prices forum GasBuddy.com. "This is the longest streak of rising gas prices since early May, when the average climbed for 17 days straight from May 6 to May 22."
Marie Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California, said erratic wholesale prices contributed to higher local gas prices, but the exact cause was unclear.
"It's a little bit of a puzzle," she said.
Wholesale prices for L.A.'s blend of gasoline jumped 50 cents Tuesday and had fallen 20 cents two days later. Montgomery said several factors could be at play beyond simple supply and demand, but the most cited reason for the rise in gas prices throughout the U.S. was an increase in exports of refined gasoline to South America.
"That's what may be driving this up. In California, we have a specific blend of gas -- we can't just get it from anywhere," Montgomery said. "It's not a shortage. There's just not a lot extra. If our stations get caught short, there could be a problem."