The average retail price of gas in California hit $3 a gallon Tuesday for the first time since Sept. 26, 2015, according to national gas price tracker GasBuddy.com.
Gas prices have been rising steadily for more than a month, which GasBuddy attributed to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cutting production. OPEC agreed Nov. 30 to produce 1.2 million fewer barrels of oil a day in 2017.
“With OPEC’s production cuts boosting oil prices and the typical seasonal factors pushing gas prices higher, California’s average gas price has hit $3 per gallon and will likely continue moving higher,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. “It’s likely average prices could rise another 20 to 40 cents per gallon over the next few months, making it the most painful spring and summer at the pump in years.”
DeHaan said the seasonal transition of refineries producing pricier spring-summer gas blends will lead to higher prices for drivers in the weeks ahead.
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GasBuddy said Southern California has begun the spring-summer blend transition and will complete it by April 1. Areas of Central California are expected to complete the transition by May 1, and areas of Northern California will complete it by June 1.
The average retail price of gasoline in Sacramento on Tuesday was $2.86 a gallon, up 5 cents from last week and nearly 20 cents from a month ago.
The average at-the-pump price in the Sacramento area one year ago was $2.26 a gallon.
Motorists in Sacramento and throughout California enjoyed unusually low gas prices throughout most of 2016, a combination of ample fuel supplies, low crude-oil prices and relatively few disruptions at in-state refineries.