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California gas prices in 13-week surge rise to $3.73 average

The cost of an average gallon of gasoline in California rose to $3.73 in the past week, the highest its been in 67 weeks.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s yardstick for regular gas as of March 15 was up 9 cents in a week and is up $1.09 since the pandemic era low of $2.64 per gallon last May. That’s a 41% increase. The last time it was higher? Nov. 25, 2019.

Pump prices statewide have increased for 13 consecutive weeks as fuel’s key ingredient, crude oil, soars in price. West Texas Intermediate, a U.S. benchmark for crude oil, is up 35% this year to $66 per barrel as of last week.

It’s a striking change from last spring when gas prices fell 21% as pandemic “stay at home” restrictions cut travel and fuel demand. Since then, a reopening economy and production cuts worldwide have boosted gasoline prices.

Pricier fuel is not just a California trend.

Nationally, all regular gas averaged $2.85 a gallon last week — up 8 cents in a week and up 83 cents or 59% since last spring’s $1.77 low. That gap between California and U.S. prices is 31% vs. an average gap of 32% over the last five years.

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Gas-price trivia: How this week compares with…

Five years ago: $2.60 a gallon in California vs. $1.96 nationally — a 33% gap — with $39 a barrel crude oil.

10 years: $3.95 statewide; $3.57 in the U.S.; with 11% gap — with $101 crude oil.

15 years: $2.53 in California; $2.37 nationally; with 7% gap — with $62 crude oil.

20 years: $1.70 statewide; $1.41 in the U.S.; with 20% gap — with $28 crude oil.

25 years: $1.20 statewide; $1.13 in the U.S.; with 7% gap — with $19 crude oil.

Source: Orange County Register

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