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Gas prices jump 20 cents since last week

February 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The price of gas continues to skyrocket. In some areas, the price for a gallon of regular has jumped 20 cents just over the past week.

California has some of the highest gas prices in the country - more than $4 a gallon on average, and some places are much higher than that.

But this could be just the beginning. Traditionally, prices rise even more in the next few months. Some experts say prices could hit $5 by Memorial Day.

"Every spring, we have seen these types of spikes. Sometimes they start in February, like they're starting now, usually they peak in May," said Marie Montgomery of the American Automobile Association. "Hopefully, if things resolve themselves, maybe we'll see the peak a little bit earlier this year."

California gasoline is more expensive in part because of the requirements to meet the state's clean air rules. It adds to the cost of refining.

And the refineries are now switching from their winter blend gasoline to the more expensive summer blend, which can cost 50 to 60 cents more. Some refineries are closed for maintenance. One of the big refineries in Washington State was closed by a fire.

Drivers are understandably frustrated, but they say there's little they can do about it.

"It's hurting me, well, because they salaries aren't raising in the business world, and definitely not making enough to be affording these kind of gas prices," said driver Sevan Asatoorian.

The average on Tuesday in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area was $4.08, while in Orange County, the average was $4.07. In the Inland Empire, the average has gone up 20 cents since last week to $4.05, while in Ventura, the average is $4.08.