Gas prices spiked to nearly $7 a gallon at at least one Los Angeles station on Sunday – as the national average topped $4 for the first time since the 2008 fiscal crisis.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Los Angeles County was $5.288 on Sunday, according to AAA, while a gallon of diesel cost $5.598. That is up 9.7 percent from just last week and 13 percent over last month.
And when compared to the same time last year, the average gasoline price on Sunday was 57.5 percent higher.
But the difference was even more stark at the Shell station at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, which was advertising regular unleaded gas for $6.99 a gallon. The price for premium at the station was $7.29, ABC 7 reported.
Meanwhile, the national average for a gallon of gas hit $4.009 on Sunday, according to AAA, which is the highest since July 2008.
Experts blame the war in Ukraine, coupled with rising inflation at home of 7.5 percent for the sky-high gas prices in nearly one-third of the country, with costs surging by 37 cents nationally since Russia invaded Ukraine.
In California, drivers also suffer from high state taxes, as well as stricter refining rules that require specific fuel formulae intended to reduce air pollution in the hot summer months.
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Gas prices have been steadily rising in Los Angeles County over the past week
At least one station, at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, was advertising regular unleaded gas for $6.99 on Sunday
Nationally, meanwhile, the average for a gallon of gas hit $4.009 on Sunday
Only two people stopped at the Shell station at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue Sunday morning, according to ABC 7, with many trying to find cheaper gas in the area.
But that proved to be difficult, with one woman, Joana Esparza, saying she was shocked when her husband told her the gas at another station was $6 a gallon.
‘I think I put gas last week sometime and it was still four-something,’ she said. ‘So I was just like “We need to go electric.”‘
‘I think we need to already because that’s insane,’ Esparza said. ‘I don’t think we’ve paid that … ever.’
Each of the three highest increases since July 14, 2015, have occurred over the past three days.
On Thursday, the average price rose 8.6 cents in Los Angeles County, and in Orange County the average price rose 10.3 cents to $5.238 – the largest increase since July 2015, ABC 7 reported.
By Friday, prices skyrocketed more than 13 cents, and on Saturday, the average price of self-serve rose 9.5 cents in LA to $5.247, according to NBC 4.
Nationally, meanwhile, gas prices rose by an average of 15.8 cents a gallon on Friday and were up another 8 cents on Saturday – as the cost at the pump increased 33 cents over the last week.
It was the second highest spike in gasoline prices ever recorded and beaten only by the 18.1-cent spike when Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf in August 2005.
Experts say the ongoing war in Ukraine has contributed to the rising prices.
The U.S. gets 5 to 10 percent of its crude oil and refined products from Russia, the prices of which have only increased during the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, less than one week after Vladimir Putin officially invaded, the U.S. benchmark for crude oil jumped past $110 per barrel on Wednesday – the biggest single-day jump since May 2020 and the highest price since 2014.
Brent Crude, the international standard, also surged 7.1 percent to $104.97, NBC 4 reported.
The price of gas hit an all-time high on Sunday
The current national average in on the rise as a result of sanctions on major oil producer Russia, up 50 cents from February and up $1.17 from a year ago
Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, said the national average is now expected to go up to $4.50 a gallon as supply disruptions ripple across the energy complex.
‘Oil buyers are reducing their purchases of refined products from Russia causing Russian refineries to shut down,’ he said.
‘Dock workers are refusing to unload vessels carrying oil and gas. Insurance rates are skyrocketing causing vessel owners to cancel ship bookings loading in Russia and this is also impacting on the ability of Kazakhstan to sell their oil.’
Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for OPIS, also told CNN: ‘This is not the end of it. We’re already up another 14 cents on wholesale gas prices this morning.
‘It’s absolutely out of control. When you get increases this quick, and this dramatic, you really scald the public,’ he said.
Eleven states – California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, Arizona, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania – have already seen the average price reach over $4 a gallon. Another six states have average gas prices hovering near $4 a gallon.
But just last year, the average price of gas was $2.75 a gallon. Prices were recovering from the COVID pandemic when stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns slashed demand for gasoline.
A lack of supply resulted in a gas shortage last summer, sending U.S. gas prices to a seven-year high.
Experts say the ongoing war in Ukraine has contributed to the rising prices
But while many drivers have grumbled about seeing pump prices rise almost daily, some say they are prepared to put up with the extra cost because of the pictures of the war in Ukraine they are seeing on the news.
‘I would rather have high gas prices here than an authoritarian regime in the Ukraine,’ said Los Angeles resident Jacqueline St. Anne.
‘If we have to suffer with a little bit of inflation and gas prices for a while to assure that such a wonderful country as Ukraine has an opportunity to develop its democracy, we should do that.’
For others, there is a simple solution to paying through the nose.
‘I just bought a Tesla,’ said Matthew Reynl, speaking about the electric car. ‘That’s my solution to the gas prices going up.’