California gas prices climb, highest in the country

10th gas station to open in Castaic. Dan Watson/ The Signal
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California gas prices continue to both increase and remain the highest in the nation as gasoline stocks tighten on the West Coast.

A “significant price” jump of 16 cents this past week in California has resulted in the state average price on regular gas reaching $4.09 as of Monday. The nationwide average has held steady at $2.65, according to the American Automobile Association.

The supply shortages which have triggered the increase in price in California is due to several refinery outages in the state. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. shutoffs due to the critical fire weather warnings throughout the state have also resulted in a decline in production at certain refineries, AAA officials said.

Santa Clarita has not been immune to the price hikes, with drivers and gas station employees feeling frustration alike.

“It affects what vehicle I drive,” said Cinko Marcinko, a Valencia resident. “I usually drive my motorcycle, but now I’m looking for a little fuel-economy car.”

“It affects your whole life,” said Katelyn Fritz, a part-time resident of Santa Clarita and Phoenix, Arizona. “You have to work extra hours just to drive to work.”

Susan Orellana, a Canyon Country gas station employee, said customers regularly ask her when the prices will be going down.

“Everyone is so angry,” said Orellana. “Everyone is pumping less, everyone is not using their personal cars, everyone uses the train.”

Prices at the pump are nine cents higher than they were in the month of September, but 26 cents cheaper than a year ago.

“All regions are seeing planned and unplanned refinery maintenance,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson, in a statement distributed to the public on Monday. “But it is only the West Coast that is really seeing gasoline stocks tighten and gas prices increase.”

Kaitlyn Nickerson contributed to this report.

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