Leonardo Zelada pumps gas in Los Angeles, where prices have jumped an average… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)
A week of price spikes brought retail gasoline in Southern California close to the high amounts drivers were paying in February, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Weekend Gas Watch. The spike may also leave prices at their highest levels ever for Memorial Day, the Auto Club added.
A spokesman for the Auto Club said it was unclear how quickly and how far prices might fall following the spike, which was prompted, in part, by an unusual number of refinery outages in the state.
"We have already seen retail prices decline slightly or plateau in the past 24 hours,” said Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring. “At least for now, it seems the sharp increases are over, but the question is how long it will take pump prices to decline to the levels they were at a week ago."
Spring also warned that there might be more pump price pain on the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
"If [gas prices] don’t drop by at least 20 cents per gallon," Spring said, "Memorial Day travelers from Southern California may pay the highest gas prices ever for this holiday."
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.405 per gallon, up 17.2 cents since last week, and 17 cents since last month. The average is also 19 cents higher than the gas price a year ago, the Auto Club said.
In Orange County, the average is $4.383 a gallon, up 17 cents since last week. That's also a rise of 17.3 cents since last month, and a rise of 18.8 cents since last year.
In San Diego, the average price is $4.369 a gallon, 14.8 cents above last week, 13 cents above last month, and 18 cents higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.420, up 16.7 cents from last week, 17 cents higher than a month ago, and 16 cents above last year.
In the Inland Empire, the average per gallon price is $4.370, up 16.8 cents from last week, 14 cents higher than last month, and 17 cents more than last year.
Why gas prices have been so high
Gas prices rarely peak before mid-May
Glut in oil keeps gas prices falling in rest of U.S.