Analyst: Gas could reach $4/gallon in California

Gas prices have jumped nearly a dollar in the last month, and experts say it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 3:17 PM

CALIFORNIA- The average price for a gallon of gas has risen nearly a dollar within the last month, and experts say the price is expected to continue to rise.

Patrick DeHaan is the head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy.com.

DeHaan said the spike is due to a unique set of circumstances that has created a perfect storm. He said 47 of the nation's 50 states have seen an increase in prices at the pump, but California has experienced the biggest jump.

The reason, DeHaan explains, is because California experienced some unplanned refinery issues within the last two weeks, combined with normal routine maintenance that happens every year ahead of the summer driving season. 

"There's just a lot going on," he said. "And it is pinching motorists across the country and in fact, higher prices means that Americans are spending $200 million more just today on filling their tanks than they did just 90 days ago."

DeHaan predicts parts of California will see $4.00/gallon soon, something that hasn't happened since 2014.

But the news is not all bad. 

"We may not see any relief until mid to late May," he said. "Then prices may start moderating after these refinery kinks are behind us.  So the month of June, we might start seeing statewide averages falling."

Nick Wood owns a small business in the North State. He said the rising gas prices, even if temporary, make a difference in his bottom line. 

"I'm not thrilled about it, I'll tell you that," he said. "The cost of what I get paid for my business isn't going up, and fuel prices and everything else is rising, so it's harder to make a living."

The next phase of California's gas tax kicks in soon. On July 1, the gas tax rate will rise 5.6 percent.

DeHaan predicts prices for most of the summer will be similar or slightly higher than they were last summer.

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