Gas prices are at their highest level in California in five years, but even as some stations are charging $5 a gallon, one analyst predicts there may soon be relief for motorists at the pump.
A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline reached an average of $4.19 in the Golden State Tuesday. That follows a 16-cent spike in gas prices statewide, the biggest weekly increase in the U.S. over a period that ended Monday, AAA reported.
Gas prices haven't been this high in the state since May 2014.
California motorists continue to pay the most for gas in the country, with the cost about $1.54 higher than the national average.
But many parts in California are paying well above the state's average.
In Mono County, which has the most expensive gasoline prices in the state, the average is approaching $5; as of Tuesday, it stood at $4.93, according to AAA.
And some gas stations in the state, including in the Los Angeles area, are approaching or already charging at least $5 gallon.
A Mobil station in West L.A. advertised gasoline for $5.29 per gallon of regular unleaded on Tuesday morning, video from the location showed. A gallon of supreme cost $5.69.
L.A. County drivers are paying, on average, $4.26 a gallon, according to AAA. In Ventura County, it's about $4.25.
The cost in Orange County is approximately $4.22, while Riverside and San Bernardino counties are seeing prices below $4.20.
A number of refinery outages along the West Coast were a major factor for the recent surge in pump prices, as the unplanned maintenance tightened the California's fuel supply, according to experts.
“All regions are seeing planned and unplanned refinery maintenance, but it is only the West Coast that is really seeing gasoline stocks tighten and gas prices increase,” AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano said in a news release on Monday.
However, refineries are working to resume production capacity, the release stated.
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com, said he anticipates gas prices in California will start to decrease.
"Significant relief will be coming starting very soon," DeHaan tweeted Tuesday, noting prices could fall near 50 cents a gallon by Thanksgiving.