Remember all that “Kumbaya” we sung about a lovely summer of low gas prices and mad road trips? Yeah? No.
Sorry to inform you that the fuel market is about as volatile as Suge Knight without his favorite cigar. Pump prices are shooting back up in Los Angeles, and the website GasBuddy.com is predicting $4 averages for a gallon of gas in our area as soon as today.
“It would be the first time since July 22, 2014 that prices averaged over $4 a gallon in Los Angeles,” GasBuddy said in a statement.
What's strange about this one is that the rest of the nation isn't seeing this level of increase. We're special.
The gas-price website for consumers says “continued refinery problems” in California “have led to supply tightness and further wholesale gasoline price spikes.”
Golden State law requires special fuel for California vehicles as part of our efforts to reduce smog. As a result, we get most of our gas from 14 in-state refineries. If even one of them waivers, it could hurt us at the pump.
Allison Mac, petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, told us supply has indeed been tight in California. And, she said, the Torrance ExxonMobil refinery that experienced an explosion in February has not fully recovered. Mac:
There's not enough gas right now to make us feel comfortable. There's no new refinery issues. But we've been really tight in California in terms of supply, which is why the rest of the nation is seeing a little spike, but not as dramatic as what we're seeing.
Four-dollar gas is a bummer given that we've enjoyed relatively low prices in the last six months as a result of a healthy American supply and low Middle Eastern wholesale prices.
But the Auto Club of Southern California earlier this month noted that, even during the best of times at the pump, Southern California drivers pay about 6 percent more to operate their vehicles than motorists in the rest of the nation.
The six-month average per-gallon gas price into early 2015 was $3.56 a gallon for Southern California, AAA says.
Mac says that if the wholesale market stabilizes, we could be back down to decent prices again by Memorial Day weekend, which would be good news for you road trippers.