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Californians see gas prices increase while national average drops

Gas Prices
Posted at 6:02 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 22:41:03-04

Over the past few weeks, Californians have seen gas prices increase while the national average has dropped.

On Thursday, California's average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $5.43, an increase of seven cents compared to a month ago, according to AAA.

The national average was $3.69, a drop of 26 cents from a month ago.

According to the Gas Buddy app, the most expensive gas station in the San Luis Obispo County area is the Shell gas station on Shell Beach Road. The cheapest, at a whopping 98 cents less per gallon, is the Sinclair gas station in Morro Bay.

"When I come through Morro Bay, I always stop here because I'm fully aware that this is the cheapest gas in the county," said Paul Kellett, Cambria resident.

"Well, I don't want to give away the secret, but this is the cheapest gas in the county," said Dave Sudem, San Luis Obispo County resident.

"This gas station usually has the cheapest prices," said Adam Orszag, Los Osos resident.

"It's the cheapest gas around," agreed Rob Hogrefe, Los Osos resident.

"Prices are always immaculate... and the other part to it is they got awesome tacos and burritos inside," said Oris Martin, Los Osos resident.

Transporting gasoline to San Luis Obispo County costs more than transporting it to other areas. That, combined with the lack of competition in the market, makes San Luis Obispo County one of the most expensive metro areas in the state to buy gas.

Throughout the last few weeks, prices have risen even higher as oil refineries have been undergoing maintenance that was put off all year due to high gas prices.

"Locally, we have six refineries that are undergoing either planned or unplanned maintenance," said Marie Montgomery, AAA Southern California spokesperson.

She says that has drastically lowered the inventory of gasoline.

"We are getting word that there are some imports coming in now, so that is good news, but unfortunately, we are still seeing the prices go up because we do have those very low inventories," Montgomery said.

Fear of power outages and blackouts in the market that could leave California in short supply also drove prices higher.

AAA says when refineries start producing the winter blend of gasoline, which is allowed to be sold in most areas after October 31, they expect the price will decrease; however, it is heavily dependent on inflation, the war in Ukraine and local issues that may arise at refineries.