The price of gas per gallon continued its upward trend this week for an average price of $4.382 in Los Angeles County on Aug. 6—$1.216 higher than the price this time last year, according to GasBuddy.
This marks the fourth consecutive day that gas prices have risen one-tenth of a cent in Los Angeles County.
The U.S. national average gas price hit a record $3.19 per gallon on Aug. 5, the highest price the U.S. has seen since Oct. 12, 2014, GasBuddy reported. Also on Aug. 5, California recorded an average gas price of $4.439.
GasBuddy head petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan told The Epoch Times that the gas price peak will likely come within the next two weeks as summer vacation season culminates.
“The economy has broadly reopened and Americans have been hitting the road for summer,” De Haan said. “I think that we’re very close to a peak in price—I believe we’ll see a peak by mid-August, then prices will start to taper off as demand falls as summer vacations and road trips end.”
Last year, gas prices plunged as a result of the pandemic, causing oil producers to slow production.
“Gas prices out West continue to rise due to high demand and several refinery issues in recent weeks, which has slowed down refiners’ ability to supply a gasoline market that appears to be red hot as the summer begins to slow down,” said De Haan.
De Haan also predicted that the U.S. will see another dip in gas prices as more businesses return to remote work amid the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant.
“With the Delta variant of COVID, however, there could be some surprises — good or bad, so let that be a caveat,” De Haan said.
Crude oil stockpiles increased by 3.6 million barrels last week, while gasoline stockpiles saw an unexpected drop of 5.3 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Aug. 4.
Fuel market analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey told The Epoch Times that California’s high gas prices were also due to two elements.
First, retail price includes federal excise, state excise, and sales tax; the tax inside retail price varies by state and county. For example, Lindberg said, Los Angeles’s tax was $.90 per gallon on July 23, while tax inside price in St. Louis, Mo., was about $.36 on the same date.
Lundberg went onto explain that in California there is also taxation by proxy due to two climate change-related state fees put on refiners and passed through to consumers. Lundberg said the latest combined climate change-related tax amounts to about $.38 per gallon.
“Some refiners have flown the state, in my opinion to escape the anti-petroleum business conditions or elected to turn plants into soy diesel manufacturing facilities to lessen their federal legal obligations to sell fuels blended with ethanol from agricultural material, also in the name of global warming,” Lundberg said.
“So the two state ‘anti-warming’ taxes are an essential part of the reason for high price
differences between California and U.S. retail gasoline prices.”
On Aug. 6, the Orange County average price rose three-tenths of a cent to $4.349, after dropping two-tenths of a cent for two consecutive days; the current price is $1.178 higher than it was one year ago. The O.C. gas price has risen a total of $1.141 in 2021.