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Gas Prices Stay High in California, Fall in Rest of Country

The average price of gas is below $2 per gallon in more than half of the United States, but prices at California pumps are creeping higher due to maintenance issues at refineries across the Golden State.

As of Monday evening, the average price of gas in California sat at $2.85 a gallon, well above the less than $2 per gallon national average, according to gas price-tracking service GasBuddy. The high statewide average is buoyed by particularly pricy pumps in Los Angeles ($3.04/gallon), San Diego ($2.99/gallon), and San Bernardino ($2.97/gallon).

California already enjoys higher-than-average gas prices due to the botched implementation of global warming legislation signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nearly a decade ago. But recent disruptions at several major refineries across the state have compounded the problem, and motorists are feeling the difference at the pumps.

“It’s an ongoing headache,” GasBuddy petroleum analyst Allison Mac told the Sacramento Bee. “Another problem is a lack of gasoline imports. Up until recently, supplies were good and prices were low, so California was not importing gasoline. Now, with the refinery problems, it has become a supply and demand issue.”

Mac cited “maintenance issues” at a number of major refineries, including an El Segundo Chevron facility and multiple Tesoro facilities, as cause for the rise in prices.

Will Speer, another analyst at GasBuddy, said that the national price average’s refusal to go down despite price decreases in 38 states last week illustrates “the severity of California’s gas price hike.”

“As the refining issues impacting California aren’t expected to be resolved this week, California may continue to inflate the national gas price average into the new year,” Speer said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the news is considerably better outside the Golden State. Headed into the final week of the year, the national average price of gas has fallen nearly 28 cents since last year, according to GasBuddy data.

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