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San Diego drivers dealing with high gas prices

San Diego drivers are dealing with gas prices that seem to be climbing along with summertime temperatures.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas was $5.10 on Wednesday according to the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Oil Price Information Service. Statewide, the average price was $5.02.

Consumers filling up gas tanks have paid rising prices for more than a week.


“In Southern California we are seeing wholesale prices up for about the last week, top levels that we haven’t seen since November of last year,” said Marie Montgomery of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

San Diego prices are up 15 cents a gallon over the past nine days, with the average jumping nearly 2 cents on Tuesday.

“You don’t have to pay $5 a gallon,” Montgomery said. “This is the time to aggressively shop around for that lowest price. There are plenty of stations that are close to 50 cents or even more, lower than the average price.”

Rising international oil prices are to blame for some of the jump in prices at the state’s fuel pumps. Saudi Arabia and Russia are restricting production in an effort to raise the per-barrel cost of the fuel.

“California prices have gone up, but it’s been more of a function of the rise in oil prices,” said Patrick De Haan, a petroleum industry analyst at GasBuddy. “Whereas east of the Rockies and areas of the South, Midwest and Northeast prices have been jumping noticeably thanks to refinery outages due to the heat.”


The increases keep California gas as some of the most expensive fuel in the nation, but rising oil costs are not the only thing putting upward pressure on prices.

The state’s summer fuel blend is also more expensive to make and every gallon of gas sold in California includes a $1.26 charge for taxes and climate-related fees.

“Those types of programs are specific to California, like cap and trade, like the low-carbon fuel standard, like these special blends. And so that’s what we often see when we compare California to other states,” said Kevin Slagle of the Western States Petroleum Association. “We’re going to be a little bit higher, or a lot higher, because of these regulatory programs.”

Gas prices east of San Diego County are not as expensive. The average price of a gallon of regular is $4.89 in El Centro in the Imperial Valley.