Business & Economy

Why SoCal gas prices rose this week

File: Gas prices are displayed at an Arco gas station on Oct. 27, 2014 in Mill Valley, California.
File: Gas prices are displayed at an Arco gas station on Oct. 27, 2014 in Mill Valley, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The price of gas is slightly more expensive than last week — six cents a gallon to be exact — which doesn't seem to be enough to stop people in their tracks at the pump.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Los Angeles County was up Monday over this time last week, bringing it to $2.84 a gallon, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Marie Montgomery told KPCC. The California state average only increased by three cents. 

A refinery in Torrance that experienced a power outage late last month could be one factor causing this increase. Experts still aren't sure if there's a local supply issue. If that was the case, she said, Angelenos would be shelling out a lot more at the pump.

Gasoline prices are most affected by what our local refineries are doing. Because California has its own special blend of gasoline, largely supplied by those local refineries, bringing in an alternate supply of gasoline from somewhere else would be difficult. When gas is imported, it comes from as far as Europe and Asia, according to Montgomery. 

“If there has to be imports or something like that, then prices will tend to stay high. We’re very dependent on our local refineries, and so what happens with them really dictates whether the prices are going up or down,” she said.  

Right now, folks are pumping the summer blend. Once the winter blend gas is rolled out on Nov. 1, prices should come down. 

In 2012, refineries ran out of the summer blend well before Oct. 31 and had to obtain permission from the governor to sell the winter blend early, Montgomery said.

A six-cent increase isn’t so worrisome in the greater scheme of things, she said. But if they started to rise two cents a day, that would officially be a spike and cause concern. This time last year, drivers were paying $3.06 per gallon.