Gasoline prices have seen a sharp spike recently in Los Angeles County, rising over a penny in each of the past five days to $4.259 for regular self-serve unleaded. That is 11.6 cents more than a week ago - the highest gas has cost since June 1.
Last October, L.A. gasoline prices were 41.8 cents cheaper than they are today, according to AAA and Oil Price Information Service. Things are a smidge worse in Orange County where prices are 42.6 cents higher than they were a year ago.
What's to blame? According to Marie Montgomery Nordhues of the Automobile Club of Southern California, the recent spike can be attributed to Monday's brief power failure at the Torrance ExxonMobil refinery.
"Generally when you have something on the mag of the Richmond fire, that would affect prices quickly," Nordhues told KPCC. This uptick is a little surprising, she added, because it wasn't nearly as large.
"Whatever it is it is causing a panic in the market," Nordues said. "We already saw prices tick up because there seemed to be some increased imports to Mexico and other parts south... and then this refinery issue hit as well."
All year prices have been consisistantly higher than last year, she noted, with a few execptions in early spring.
There are some bright spots, however. GasBuddy.com notes that there are four gas stations in L.A. selling gasoline under $4 a gallon. There's an Arco in Carson, the Costco in Commerce, an SS Fuel in Paramount, and the Panther Petro in Pomona are all reportedly selling unleaded for $3.99 a gallon.
The Shell at the corner of Olympic and Fairfax near Little Ethiopia has the highest reported price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded at $4.99 a gallon.