Southern California gas prices climb at their fastest rate this year

Los Angeles, CA - September 17: Like many other gas stations in the Southland a Shell gas station on the corner of Lankershim Blvd. and Tujunga Ave. in North Hollywood has gas prices steadily increasing on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A gallon of regular gasoline cost an average of $5.62 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area as of Thursday, up 18 cents from last week and 38 cents from last month. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Gas prices in Southern California shot up at their fastest rate of the year last week, according to data released by AAA.

A gallon of regular self-serve gasoline cost an average of $5.62 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach metro area as of Thursday. That is up 18 cents from last week and 38 cents from last month.

The national average price is nearly $2 less — $3.86 — up 6 cents from a week ago.

AAA officials blamed both regional and global factors for high prices, including the floods in Libya.

"Our pump prices have been skyrocketing as a result of regional refinery outages, as well as from increasing crude oil prices following deadly flooding in Libya, which will temporarily disrupt oil exports from that OPEC nation,” Doug Shupe, a spokesperson for the Automobile Club of Southern California, said in a statement.

Other parts of Southern California have seen similar eye-popping price increases.

In the San Diego metro area, the average price for a gallon of gas is $5.60, and in Riverside, $5.50. Both of those figures are up 17 cents from last week and 39 cents from last month.

On the Central Coast, a gallon will cost drivers an average of $5.53, 14 cents higher than a week ago and 38 cents more than last month.

It remains unclear when drivers might feel relief, but AAA officials said last month that California has increased oil stockpiles and imports, which may drive down wholesale prices soon.

AAA offered some tips for conserving gas in this expensive season: Remove unnecessary or heavy items from your car, limit use of air conditioning, and drive the speed limit on the freeway.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.