If you have been watching gas prices of late, you could have seen this coming.
Average gasoline prices across most of California are now at their highest level in more than 850 days, according to GasBuddy.com.
The statewide average Wednesday of $3.30 per gallon is the highest it has been since Sept. 4, 2015, with most major California cities including Los Angeles ($3.43), San Francisco ($3.34), San Jose ($3.23), San Diego ($3.38) and Sacramento ($3.09) also at or very near their highest since September 2015. California’s average price per gallon stands nearly 20 cents per gallon higher than it started the year and 34 cents ahead of where it was a year ago.
Gas prices traditionally begin their seasonal rise in mid-February as refiners begin maintenance and transitioning to more expensive CARB-mandated summer gasoline, so it is highly likely that average gas prices will continue to climb before the summer.
Prices could stand 20-50 cents a gallon higher by Memorial Day and flirt with $4 per gallon, a level not seen in California since July 2014, according to GasBuddy’s Patrick DeHaan. Much of the rise so far in 2018 can be blamed on the rise in oil prices, which stand near multi-year highs due to lower global supply (OPEC agreed to cut oil production in November 2016) and as U.S. oil exports rise to record levels after being legalized two years ago, draining excess supply that had previously driven crude oil prices down.
California now leads the nation with the biggest change at the pump versus a year ago: prices stand 47 cents higher, followed by Indiana (+45 cents) and Michigan (+44 cents).