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Why are gas prices going back up?

Posted at 5:43 AM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 08:43:16-05

Gas prices are creeping back up after weeks of significant decline.

But for once, smaller increases are being seen here in California compared to other states.

The national average for a gallon of gas is up about eleven cents a gallon from one week ago.

In California, the statewide average is only up about half of that - at five cents.

According to Gas Buddy - national prices are going up - partially due to the arctic blast that hit the week of Christmas, which caused refinery disruptions.

But the rise is more so due to a combination of other factors.

"As China has started to reopen its economy, demand for oil and gasoline there has started to jump - combined with new sanctions on Russia from the EU, and an end of the releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve - have all really worked to really push up the price of oil to 82 dollars a barrel - the highest we’ve seen in well over a month,” said Patrick De Haan, Gas Buddy Analyst.

De Haan says Central Coast gas prices could see sharper increases soon as California starts transitioning to the 'summer blend' in a few weeks.

He explains, summer gasoline is mandated by the Air Resources Board in California. It tends to burn much cleaner and reduces emissions but, as a result, it’s also more costly.

Additionally, refineries begin maintenance in February in preparation of the busy summer driving season - pushing prices up even more.

De Haan says - the state could see five dollars a gallon by Memorial Day.