- Due to supply problems due to problems in refineries on the West Coast and Midwest, the price of gasoline soared to $5.84 dollars per gallon in Los Angeles County
The average price of gasoline in Los Angeles County continued to rise on Monday when a gallon of regular fuel reached $5.88 on Tuesday, according to data from the American Automobile Association (AAA).
After gasoline prices fell for 98 straight days, the trend turned last week amid supply problems due to refinery issues on the West Coast and Midwest, according to AAA.
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 1 cent to $3.72 on Monday, down from a record high of $5.02 in June but still higher than $3.19 a gallon a year earlier.
In Los Angeles County, the average price for regular fuel was $5.43 per gallon a week ago and $4.41 last year.
The highest price on record for regular fuel in the county was $6.46 per gallon in mid-June.
The spike in gas prices comes as Californians who qualify for the gas price relief program prepare to receive one-time payments of up to $1,050 between next month and January.
In June, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other lawmakers agreed to a $9.5 billion tax rebate program intended to offer financial relief to motorists as gasoline averaged more than $6 a gallon.
To qualify, residents must have lived in California for six months or more in 2020, filed their 2020 tax returns by October 15, 2021, and not be claimed as a dependent in 2020.
They must also be California residents on the date the payment is issued. Payments are limited by income.
Problems at refineries on the West Coast, as well as in the Great Lakes and Plains regions, have contributed to skyrocketing gasoline prices, despite falling oil prices, according to Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s head of oil analysis.
A fire and explosion at a BP refinery in Toledo, Ohio, killed two workers last week and shut down the facility.
De Haan said that despite supply challenges elsewhere in the US, gasoline prices remained relatively stable in the Northeast and along the Gulf Coast.
In the coming weeks, gas prices will remain regionally different until refinery problems are resolved, he said.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a wider range of price action from coast to coast in my career,” de Haan wrote in a blog post on Monday.
“It appears that a series of unexpected refinery outages, including fires and routine maintenance, occurred in a short period of time, causing wholesale gasoline prices to spike in areas of the West Coast states, the United States. Great Lakes and the Plains, and some of those areas could see prices go up another 25-75 cents a gallon or more until the issues are resolved.”
De Haan also said Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to hit Florida with rain and high winds, could disrupt work at refineries and further contribute to the gas surge.
Tom Kloza, one of the founders of the Oil Price Information Service, said Monday that in more than 40 years in the industry, he had “never seen such diversity in gasoline prices in the United States.”
“Taxes and other charges, Southern California at the refinery gate hits $4.60 a gallon,” he tweeted. “Gulf Coast gas this morning at $2.36 per gal. The western isolation of refineries east of the Rockies and overseas is extreme.”
Gasoline prices across the country soared above $5 a gallon in June and over $6 in California as increased travel and Russia’s war in Ukraine caused oil prices to spike.
As families grappled with financial strain, President Biden set out to lower gasoline prices by freeing up millions of barrels of oil from the nation’s reserves.