Gas prices jump across Southern California


At a Shell gas station at Roscoe Boulevard in North Hills, the price for a gallon of regular gas was at $4.45 and $4.99 per gallon for diesel on Thursday. Surrounding stations had slightly lower price tags, but all hovered near $4 per gallon.

According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area is at $3.96, which is up 6 cents overnight. In Orange County, the average is $3.94, up 5 cents overnight. In the Inland Empire, the average is $3.92, up 5 cents overnight. In Ventura County, the average is $3.95, also up 5 cents overnight.

Drivers say they're doing what they can to adjust.

"Carpool with your friends, do what you have to do. I just try to make it work, because I have no control over it. I don't let it get me down," said Michelle Maniscalcol, a North Hollywood resident.

The cost of filling up has increased 27 times in the last month. Industry analysts are expecting a double-digit price hike in the next few days. Drivers on the West Coast are dealing with a shortage of hundreds and thousands of barrels of oil due to a fire at a refinery in Northern California. Chevron says it's still making fuel but at a reduced capacity.

The group Consumer Watchdog says oil companies are to blame for soaring prices - not the refineries.

"This system is made to break, and when it breaks, because there's so little inventory, it lets the oil companies raise the prices really quickly and make a big profit," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.

A trade organization representing oil companies says they don't know what will happen with prices at the pump, saying that other people make guesses, but they are not among them.

California is paying more than other states in the country, but prices nationwide are on the rise.

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