LOS ANGELES --- A second week of nearly unprecedented price increases has catapulted average gas prices above $4.50 a gallon in all Southern California metropolitan areas, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.543 per gallon, which is 20.4 cents more than last week, 64 cents higher than last month, and $1.26 above last year. In San Diego, the price is $4.568, which is 19.3 cents higher than last week's price, 62 cents above last month, and $1.30 higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.611, up 19.6 cents from last week, 57 cents above last month, and $1.14 more than last year. In the Inland Empire, the average per gallon price is $4.533, 18.8 cents over last week, up 62 cents from last month, and $1.28 higher than last year.
"California is the only state in the U.S. right now that is experiencing this painful level of price increases, and oil industry analysts say it is almost totally driven by fund manager investment in California wholesale gasoline futures," said Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring. "Southern California gas prices are nearly 40 percent higher than they were at this time last year and 93 percent higher than at this time in 2005."