The average price of a gallon of gas in Los Angeles passed $4 in the last week, and the rest of the state is almost there, too. According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, gas in Los Angeles reached an average of $4.017 per gallon over the week ending yesterday, jumping 23.4 cents from the previous week. The average price in the state reached $3.914 per gallon, up 22.8 cents from the previous week.
The price of gas is killing consumers across the nation; the Energy Department reported that 2012 showed motorists across the country spending a higher percentage of their money on gas than any time in the last 30 years.
It isn’t just California that’s suffering; the Midwest saw prices zoom up 22.8 cents in the last week. The average price across the country was its highest ever, at $3.538 aper gallon.
Two reasons were offered for the price increase: refinery maintenance and the investment of gasoline traders. Denton Cinquegrana, executive editor of the Oil Price Information Service, said “California has a lot more planned refinery maintenance than it usually has at this time of year. And most of that is concentrated in Southern California.”
Auto Club spokesman Jeff Spring felt the surge was due more to traders; “Big investment money is flowing earlier and earlier into gasoline trading, ahead of the usual spring spike. Southern California is a particularly vulnerable market for shortages because it has no inexpensive alternatives if local refinery production is down, and traders are aware of this.”
Joshua Goldman of the Union of Concerned Scientists said most Americans “are likely to spend almost as much on gasoline over the life of their vehicle as its original cost. You’re basically paying for a second car every 15 years.”