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Gas Prices Soar - San Diegans Feeling Pain At The Pump

Evening Edition

Above: Charles Langley, the manager of the UCAN Gasoline Project, speaks with "Evening Edition" about gas prices.

Aired 2/22/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Charles Langley, manager of UCAN gasoline project

Marie Montgomery, spokesperson AAA, Southern California

Transcript

Prices at the pump are rising at about two cents a day, which means motorists in San Diego are paying over $4 dollars a gallon for gas.

And it's only February.

Charles Langley, manager of UCAN gasoline project, told KPBS this year's especially high prices are a result of high oil prices and a lack of competition in the oil market.

"The real problem is we don't have a competitive refining environment and retail distribution network in California," he said. "As long as we have a handful of refineries with very little competition, we'll see this kind of restriction.

"It doesn’t matter how cheap oil is, how big the bucket is, they’re still able to game the market and drive up profits for themselves and pass on the pain to consumers."

Langley said refineries are also producing less fuel and exporting more. He added that Iran's movement of ships into Syria is also a factor in this year's high prices.

He called this the "annual gouging season" and said prices could hit $5 a gallon.

The average price has risen for 28 consecutive days and is 20.3 cents more than one week ago, 37.5 cents higher than a month ago and 53.6 cents more than a year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price has risen 35.6 cents over the past 28 days, including 1.6 cents on Tuesday.

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