Refinery problems plaguing the northeast U.S. and the Great Lakes region have knocked California out of its usual spot at the top of the nation's gasoline price list.
California almost always competes with Alaska and Hawaii for the highest gasoline prices in the U.S. because of its complicated gasoline blend and relative isolation from U.S. oil sources. But not so this summer.
The California average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 2.2 cents to $3.80 over the past week, according to the Energy Department's weekly survey of service stations. New York came in at $3.90 a gallon. California wasn't even the most expensive on the West Coast, falling below Washington's $3.804 a gallon.
Nationally, the Energy Department said the average rose 4.1 cents to $3.682 a gallon.
In another survey, the daily AAA Fuel Gauge Report, the California average for a gallon of regular gasoline of $3.803 ranked seventh behind Hawaii ($4.064), Alaska ($4.046), Connecticut ($4.015), New York ($3.926), Illinois ($3.910) and Rhode Island ($3.835).
"California gasoline supplies have been very healthy, and there have been few refinery problems there. If refineries in other parts of the country were doing better, we wouldn't see prices rising this fast," said Patrick DeHaan, senior energy analyst for GasBuddy.com, a system that gathers prices from a network of volunteers.
In other energy news, oil prices dipped based on fears about the U.S. deficit deadlock and worries about European debt.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.31 to settle at $95.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The European benchmark, Brent North Sea crude, fell $1.21 to $116.05 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.