Gas prices in Los Angeles County reached a record high Monday as the cost for a gallon of regular increased eight-tenths of a cent overnight to $6.467, according to data from the American Automobile Assn. The previous high was $6.462, set on June 14.
California has seen the steepest gas price increases in the United States, with a rise of 59 cents in the past week to an average of $6.38 a gallon. Only Alaska comes close, with a 54-cent increase during the same period.
Gas prices started to creep upward in the late September, after nearly 100 days of declines. Since then, prices have climbed consistently, with drivers paying more than $1.20 more for a gallon of regular than they had a month earlier.
Gas prices have been increasing across the nation, but the West Coast has been hit particularly hard, with California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Nevada seeing the biggest jumps in the past week.
The stark difference has been attributed to problems at refineries affecting supply, with at least six refineries in California undergoing maintenance, and limited supply to states east of the Rockies, said Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has placed the blame for rising costs in California at the feet of oil companies. He said in a video on Twitter on Friday that oil companies continue to ratchet up prices and "provide no explanation" as to why.
Newsom pointed out the stark difference in gas prices between California and the rest of the country. The national average for a gallon of regular stood at about $3.79, or$2.58 lower than California's average.
In Texas, the average hovered around $3.09 a gallon, a drop of 3 cents from last week.
"The degree of diversion from national prices have never happened before," Newsom said in the video. "The fact is [oil companies] are ripping you off."
To offset the increases, Newsom said he was asking refineries to switch early to their winter blend gas, which is typically cheaper and could reduce prices by up to 25 cents in two weeks.
It's unclear how much of an actual impact that could have at the pump.
Gas demand has been increasing in the country, from 8.32 million barrels a day last week to 8.83 million barrels a day this week, according to AAA. If demand continues to rise and supplies stay tight, AAA said, drivers could pay even more by this weekend.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.