California gas prices have increased dramatically over the past week, and experts predict the statewide average for a gallon could once more surpass an $4 -- possibly as soon as this weekend.
Pump prices jumped another five cents overnight, climbing 17 cents since one week ago, according to the latest figures from AAA.
In Los Angeles, motorists will spend an average of $3.97 per gallon on Friday to fill up their tanks with regular unleaded. That's seven cents more than yesterday, and represents an increase of 18 cents in one week, AAA's website showed.
Unexpected issues and outages at several refineries in California are having an impact on current prices throughout the state, according to experts.
“California has a pretty unique gasoline economy. It’s very isolated from the rest of the states,” Michael Blasky of AAA told Bay Area television station KPIX on Thursday. “So when we have problems here we can’t just go easily import from other states because of the strict requirements on our fuel.”
As prices continue to trend upward overnight, experts believe gas will hit the $4 a gallon mark in the Golden State soon.
Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for fuel pricing website GasBuddy.com, predicts it could happen as early as late this weekend or the beginning of next week.
Blasky also believes the state is headed for $4/gallon gasoline within the next week. The state hit that dubious mark once this year already, back in April.
And unfortunately for Southern California motorists, there appears to be no immediate relief in sight.
“What I can say for sure is we should expect to be seeing higher prices at the pump for the next couple weeks at least,” Blasky told KPIX.
DeHaan tweeted Friday that he expects gas prices to climb an additional 25 to 45 cents in the L.A. area. He said the cost will continue to rise sharply in the coming days, likely peaking between a week to 12 days.
There's also a chance the statewide average for gasoline could hit its highest level since 2014, according to DeHaan.
That "does appear possible in the next week," he tweeted.
California's current average is $3.89, well above the national average of $2.65, according to AAA.