Los Angeles fuel costs hit a document excessive. Right here’s why.

Remember when gas prices were high, then they got a little better and then they got way worse? You could probably say that almost any year in Los Angeles, but recently this pricing cycle has moved into record-setting territory.

Gas prices in the Los Angeles-Long Beach metro area (for all practical purposes, that’s LA County) have hit an average of $6,466 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s up a starting 63 cents over just one week ago.

That also means the current price at the pump has shot up to an all-time high, just fractions of a cent above the mid-June record of $6,462. Inflation, of course, also factors into the high prices, but even accounting for that it’s more now than the 2008 peak of about $4.66 a gallon (around $6.41 in 2022 dollars).

So why exactly is gas creeping up on oat milk prices right now? Supply and demand. Both planned and unplanned maintenance at California refineries (at least six by AAA’s count) has significantly impacted the supply of gasoline. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, the West Coast’s current stock of gasoline is the lowest it’s been since 2012. At the same time, consumer demand has continued to increase over the past couple of weeks. And this is all while California is still using its higher-priced, emissions-fighting so-called summer blend of gas.

Speaking of, on Friday Governor Gavin Newsom directed the California Air Resources Board to transition to the lower-cost winter blend now, instead of waiting until the end of October. The governor’s office estimates that should increase oil supplies by 5 to 10% and could quickly drop gas prices (a similar move in 2012 saw a 25-cent dip within two weeks). At the same time, Newsom is calling on lawmakers to pass a one-time tax on excess oil company profits. Meanwhile, the state’s gas-turned-general-inflation relief checks (which range from a few hundred dollars to $1,050, depending on salary) should start rolling out next week.

So until then, you might want to avoid that gas station near Union Station that’s currently charging over $8 a gallon. Or the notorious Fairfax-Olympic-San Vicente one that’s not far behind. Or take advantage of the fact that Metro bus, rail and bike share systems will be free on Wednesday, October 5 for California Clean Air Day, and Friday through Sunday for the opening of the K Line.

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