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Transportation and Mobility

The Price Of Gas Soars Past $5 A Gallon In Southern California — The Highest Ever

A woman stands by a red car filling it with the gas at a Mobil station. A sign gives the cost of a gallon of gasoline as $5.19 for regular and $5.39 for premium
Gas prices over $5.00 a gallon are posted in Los Angeles on March 4, 2022.
(Frederic J. Brown
AFP via Getty Images)
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It's already a tough start to the weekend for drivers.

The Automobile Club of Southern California reports the average price of a gallon of regular gas in L.A. and Long Beach jumped nearly 14 cents overnight to $5.15. By comparison, this same time a year ago the average cost of a gallon of gas was about $3.77 in the metropolitan area.

In Orange County, we saw an even bigger overnight increase of 14.5 cents, pushing the average gallon cost there to nearly $5.14.

The prices recorded in recent days are the highest ever averages for gas in California. Nationally, the average price of a gallon of gas is about $3.84.

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High prices pf $5 a gallon and up are shown in shades of red along largely coastal and far eastern counties of California.
A screenshot shows the average price of gallon in counties throughout California as of Friday, March 4.
(Courtesy AAA of Southern California)

[You can check current prices via the AAA tracker.]

A chart lists current average gallon costs and historic costs from a week, month and year ago. All show significant increases.
(Courtesy AAA)

So what's driving prices so high?

Marie Montgomery, a spokesperson for AAA of Southern California, says that while California refineries don't get Russian oil, the invasion of Ukraine is creating global uncertainty over supply.

And that's not the only issue driving up costs.

"These are unprecedented prices," she said. "We've never seen them this high — part of it is inflation."

Here's a reality check: Montgomery says we probably won't see relief any time soon.

Tips from AAA on reducing fuel costs
    • If you use premium unleaded fuel, make sure it is required for your vehicle, and not just recommended. The Auto Club's Automotive Research Center found that vehicles with recommended premium fuel performed safely with regular unleaded gasoline.
    • Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
    • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
    • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
    • Slow down and drive the speed limit. Higher speeds result in more aerodynamic drag.
    • Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because you could lose control of the vehicle.
    • Minimize your use of air conditioning.
    • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
    • Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car.
    • Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
What questions do you have about Southern California?