Gasoline prices in parts of Southern California hit all-time highs Friday, and as refineries begin switching over to a more expensive blend, costs could continue to soar at the pump in the coming weeks, AAA said.
In the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, a gallon of regular unleaded (87) jumped five cents over the past week to reach an average $4.72, the highest recorded in the region, according to Auto Club data. The previous record was set just last November.
Orange and Ventura counties also saw record-high prices Friday, with pump prices averaging about $4.70 in both areas, according to AAA.
Gasoline around the region continues to be pricy, with drivers on average paying $4.63 in Riverside, $4.67 in San Bernardino, $4.66 in San Diego and $4.67 in Santa Barbara.
The most expensive fuel in the Golden State by far appears to be in Mono County, which was approaching an average of $5.50 on Friday and is the only region above the $5 mark.
A combination of factors is to blame for spiking gasoline prices in Southern California, including the cost of oil reaching new highs and local refineries making the switch from the cheaper “winter blend,” according to a AAA news release.
“Refineries began shipping out the more expensive ‘summer blend’ of gasoline to Southern California gas pipelines on Monday, while oil prices have climbed by more than 10 dollars a barrel in the past month due to world tensions and OPEC concerns,” Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe explained in the release.
Shupe warned that prices may continue to increase, at least for the near future.
“If the upward pressure for gas prices continues, we could see new record prices in all Southern California areas in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
There are some things motorists can do to get the most of their gas mileage, including emptying their vehicle’s trunk of heavy items, ensuring their tires are properly inflated, not driving above the speed limit and using a fuel savings mobile app like ones offered by AAA and GasBuddy.com.