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All signs point to $5 per gallon gas prices for San Diego

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Alexander Nguyen
Gas prices are displayed at a Shell station in San Diego's Mid-City neighborhood on Feb. 21, 2022.

As the price of crude oil continues to climb to decade-long highs amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, local gas prices have also continued to surge.

The arrival of $5 per gallon gas prices is on the horizon. San Diego's average price for regular unleaded has risen nearly 20% over the past week, according to industry price-tracker GasBuddy.

The rising gas prices have state leaders and others searching for ways to limit their impacts on the economy. But, the rising prices bring up questions about San Diego’s reliance on gas-driven cars and their impacts on climate change.

The San Diego-Union Tribune energy reporter Rob Nikolewski joined Midday Edition on Thursday to talk about what's behind the recent price spikes, as well as challenges specific to California.

The state's use of seasonal blended fuels adds cost to the summer blended fuel. One expert told Nikolewski that California could consider continuing to use winter-blended fuel through the upcoming summer, saving potentially $.020 to $0.40 per gallon. However, that same expert also described the environmental downsides to that potential savings.

"That winter fuel has more butane in it, which has a higher emitting content, and that's one of the big reasons why we have the summer blend is because we want to be able to reduce the amount of air pollution in California," Nikolewski said.