Business & Real Estate

California gas prices top $3 a gallon for first time since Dec. 6

The average retail price of gasoline statewide has climbed above the $3-a-gallon threshold for the first time since Dec. 6, according to national gas price tracker

GasBuddy said the average surpassed $3 Tuesday night and settled in Wednesday at $3.03 a gallon. That’s an increase of 22 cents in one week and a 58-cent spike over 30 days.

Analysts said prices are being pushed higher by rising crude oil costs, in-state refineries switching over to pricier spring/summer gas blends, the United Steelworkers union strike idling workers at Tesoro’s California facilities in Carson and Martinez and last week’s explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance.

Allison Mac, a Los Angeles-based petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, called last week’s shutdown of the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance “perhaps the most egregious issue so far this year.” That refinery has a production capacity of 155,800 barrels per day.

Los Angeles-area motorists have been profoundly affected by the Torrance problems. The average retail price in Los Angeles on Wednesday was $3.09 a gallon, up 30 cents in one week.

By comparison, Wednesday’s average in the Sacramento area was $2.84 a gallon, up 15 cents from last week. The current local average is still well below the year-ago price of $3.57 a gallon.

Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.