California motorists are paying an average $3.15 a gallon for unleaded regular gasoline, the highest statewide average in two years and currently the highest in the nation, according to AAA.
Energy analysts are blaming the spike on the refinery disruptions created by Hurricane Harvey, even though California doesn’t depend on the Gulf Coast to supply the specific blend of gas required in the Golden State.
AAA said the storm that devastated Houston temporarily shut down 25 percent of U.S. refining capacity, driving the U.S. average price of gas up 31 cents to $2.66 a gallon.
“An incident as severe as Harvey will have a big impact on the global supply chain, even if that region doesn’t supply California’s gas,” AAA Northern California spokesman Michael Blasky said Wednesday. “Combined with strong summer travel demand, motorists in California are seeing the highest gas prices in two years.”
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At this time last year, the average price of gas in California was $2.74 a gallon.
In its latest statewide survey of gas prices, AAA said the average price of gas throughout Northern California was $3.14 a gallon, up 18 cents from last month. In Sacramento, the current average of $3.06 also is up 18 cents from August.
San Francisco drivers currently are paying the highest prices in the nation at $3.30 per gallon, AAA said.
AAA expressed some optimism on Wednesday, noting that prices generally have held steady over the past five days, as refineries in the Houston region have returned to production.
“Gas prices historically fall after Labor Day, so drivers should expect to pay lower prices unless there’s another disruption in the oil market,” Blasky said.