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Average San Diego County gas price reaches record high

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County rose to a record Thursday, increasing six-tenths of a cent to $6.023, breaking the previous record of $6.018, set March 29.

The average price has risen 16 of the past 17 days, increasing 24.4 cents, including 2 cents Wednesday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 16.6 cents more than one week ago, 25.6 cents higher than one month ago and $1.867 greater than one year ago.

The national average price rose to a record for the 10th consecutive day, increasing 2.2 cents to $4.589.

Prices are so high they're affecting and disrupting the daily lives of San Diego County residents.

"I do actually drive a lot less. I’ve had to pick up a lot less shifts at work just because I haven’t been able to afford to get to downtown and stuff like that, and so it’s just been kind of rough," San Diegan Jack Lobenstein said.

"I’ve actually had to change my economic circumstances a little bit, so I stopped going to my my local gym. I’ve been just walking to my even-closer gym. ... I mean, I only ever use it to commute to work, which is only like 15 miles away once a week. But yeah, I try to just walk to the store, just do the best I can," said Max Belford, from Oceanside.

"And we know that what has caused it by and large are three factors. I call them the three Ps: pandemic, Putin and price gouging," Mike Levin, the Democratic representative for the 49th congressional district, told KPBS. Levin said it was time for government step in to protect families. "Exxon last year with $24 billion in profit, (the) most in the last eight years. Record stock buybacks and dividends and executive compensation from the oil industry. Same with Chevron, $15.6 billion last year, record profit."

He said that was why he introduced legislation aimed at stopping oil companies from artificially increasing gas prices. The Transportation Fuel Market Transparency Act was just passed in the House of Representatives.

"We’re going to hold them to account. The American people aren’t going to take anymore of this price gouging from Big Oil," he said. "So the bill that we passed today in the House of Representatives ... basically gave the Federal Trade Commission the authority to increase the penalties for price gouging and it gave them the resources for holding this industry to account."

The rising pump prices are the result of the high cost of oil, according to Andrew Gross, an AAA national public relations manager. The price of a barrel of July Brent crude on ICE Futures Europe fell $2.82 Wednesday to settle at $109.11.

Brent crude is the global oil benchmark, accounting for approximately 80% of the world's crude oil.

Crude oil costs account for slightly more than half of the pump price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The rest of the price includes the other components of gasoline, production costs, distribution costs, overhead costs for all involved in production, distribution and sales, taxes and carbon offset fees in California paid by the refineries.