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Southern California gas prices reach the highest in nine years

Posted at 12:14 AM, Oct 24, 2021

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Gas prices are moving towards an all-time record level. According to Automobile Club of Southern California, gas price averages are at their highest level in nine years, and reports the current average price for self-serve gasoline in Southern California is $4.53 per gallon.

In Bakersfield, the average price per gallon is $4.45, which is six cents higher than last week and $1.31 higher than this time last year. Businesses in Bakersfield say prices are high but business is steady.

“It’s not affecting business here at all, any at all, they have to go to work so they have to have their gas, you know they’re going to pay it," Paula Posey said.

Posey is assistant manager at Mobile gas station in Bakersfield.

“Right now our prices are $4.19, $4.39, $4.59, and $4.39 for diesel," Posey said.

Which are some of the lower prices than other stations who are charging prices like $4.23 at Circle K, $4.43 at Chevron, and even $4.59 at Shell, as of Saturday.

Patrick De Haan at Gas Buddy says understanding the rise in prices is simple.

"We’re continuing down this road that demand is recovering much faster than supply," De Haan said.

He says the global energy crisis, the rise in the price of crude oil, and the decrease in supply are all affecting the prices we see at the pump.

“It's that drop in price and demand that caused oil producers to shut down production and lay off tens of thousands of workers. Now, as the economies recovered, the gasoline demand has started to soar again but production has not, so this is really about supply and demand, but in the last few weeks the price of oil has surged to new seven year highs," De Haan said.

To meet state environmental regulations, California requires motorists use a specific blend of gasoline. It reduces emissions but is also more expensive.

"California has a capitrade program, essentially motorists are paying for their emissions," De Haan said.

Mary Jane Wilson with WZI Inc., says although Kern County produces a large amount of oil, the majority of refined oil is imported from oversees. Wilson adds that state and national efforts to decrease emissions is part of the reason why.

“It is making us much more dependent on foreign crude oil instead of having North American crude oils ability to be transferred into the United States and that makes us as a nation a price taker not a price maker," Wilson said.

De Haan says two things need to happen for prices to decrease.

"Either demand has to drop which doesn’t appear likely or supply has to increase to meet that demand and that doesn’t look likely.”

Experts say they don't expect prices to decrease before the end of the year, and may even get higher amid the holiday season.