The cost of gasoline in Southern California could hit $4 a gallon within two weeks, according to a senior analyst at Gas Buddy.
Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for the fuel pricing website, made the grim prediction on Friday as prices at the pump continued their upward climb, increasing slightly again overnight.
“#GasPrices could hit $4/gal average in SoCal in the next 2 weeks,” DeHaan tweeted. A short time later, he underscored that forecast with a follow up tweet, writing, “ALERT: Repeating… California will soon hit $4/gal average.”
The current average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.70, the highest in the country. The cost is also about 20 cents more than Hawaii, which traditionally has the nation’s most expensive gasoline.
In Los Angeles County in the past month alone, gas prices have climbed more than 40 cents a gallon for regular unleaded, according to AAA. At $3.78, the cost per gallon is nearly 20 cents more expensive than the same time last year.
The double-digit spike in price is blamed in part on refinery issues in the L.A. area as well as supply challenges at other refineries along the West Coast, a news release from the Automobile Club of Southern California stated.
“Refineries in Wilmington and Carson reported unplanned flaring as a result of breakdowns last weekend, according to Oil Price Information Service (OPIS),” Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring explained in the release. “OPIS also reports that operations have not yet recovered for Phillips 66 after the March 16 fire at the company’s Carson refinery.”
DeHaan noted there will likely be more bad news ahead for gas prices as Marathon’s refinery will start maintenance in the coming day.
That will leave “an already tight market even tighter,” he tweeted.
The average price for a regular gallon of gasoline hasn’t reached $4 in California since July 27, 2014. The record-high is $4.67, set on Oct. 12, 2012, according to AAA.