L.A. County gas prices set record for the 14th day in a row
Southern California gas prices continued to soar Friday, with the average price of a gallon of regular in Los Angeles County climbing to $6.445, a new record for the area, according to the American Automobile Assn.
The increase marked the county’s 14th consecutive record-setting day, leaving average prices about 17 cents higher than one week ago and 55 cents higher than a month ago.
Prices in California are the highest in the nation, with the statewide average — $6.420 — far above the national average of $4.986. But prices are increasing at a rapid clip nationwide, up 11 cents since Monday.
AAA spokeswoman Marie Montgomery said there were several factors behind the painful prices at the pump, including the war in Ukraine and skyrocketing inflation. A new Labor Department report Friday found that consumer prices surged 8.6% last month from 12 months earlier, a new 40-year high.
The costs of gas, food and other necessities jumped in May, raising inflation to a four-decade high and giving U.S. households no financial respite.
“That affects everything,” Montgomery said of inflation. “That’s going to be in the mix here, as well as the predictions by some major management firms and analysts that oil could hit new highs.”
Goldman Sachs this week predicted Brent crude oil prices will average $140 a barrel this summer, up from its previous estimate of $125. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude closed Thursday at $121.51.
But Los Angeles prices weren’t the highest in the state, with prices for a gallon of regular reaching $6.826 in Humboldt County and a whopping $7.799 in Alpine County, the highest in the nation.
Orange County also set a new record Friday at $6.406 for a gallon of regular, up 16 cents from a week ago.
Montgomery said California’s uniquely high costs can be attributed to a number of factors, including taxes and limited sources for gasoline and oil.
“There are no easy ways to get oil to California refineries other than whatever is produced locally,” she said, adding that overall refining capacity in the state has been shrinking and is expected to continue to do so as more plants “convert to more green production, clean diesel and products other than gasoline.”
Though California’s prices are the steepest, several other states have seen substantial increases in the last week, including Delaware, which jumped 37 cents, and Michigan, which jumped 41 cents.
In a news release, the AAA said demand for gasoline is also growing as “drivers continue to fuel up for the summer driving season, typically a time when gas demand increases.”
“This dynamic between decreased supply and increased demand is contributing to rising prices at the pump,” the organization said. “This coupled with increasing crude oil prices means that the price of gas will likely remain elevated for the near future.”
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