The decade's most triggering comedy
Gas prices in some Southern California counties have skyrocketed to an average of over $6 a gallon, the first time they have been this high in nearly a year.
As of Tuesday, the average gas price of regular gasoline in Los Angeles and Orange counties was more than $6 a gallon — $6.027 in Los Angeles County and $6.022 in Orange County, according to data from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
It is the first time the price has topped $6 since October last year.
Both Southern California counties have seen average gas prices spike more than a dollar over the last two months. The average cost in Ventura County is $6 a gallon, while prices average $5.947 in San Diego County.
According to AAA, three California counties that border Nevada also average more than $6 a gallon: Alpine ($6.999), Mono ($6.508), and Inyo ($6.143).
Several factors have contributed to rising gas prices, including OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia slashing oil production earlier this summer. The Saudis cut oil production by one million barrels per day starting in July, which caused crude oil prices to jump.
“Oil costs are putting upward pressure on pump prices, but the rise is tempered by much lower demand,” said Andrew Gross, an AAA national public relations manager.
“The slide in people fueling up is typical, with schools back in session, the days getting shorter, and the weather less pleasant. But the usual decline in pump prices is being stymied for now by these high oil costs,” Gross said.
The national gas price average is currently $3.88 a gallon, 20.3 cents higher than a year ago. The national average hit a record $5.016 a gallon in late June last year.
The Biden administration this week touted gas prices falling from that peak.
“If you look at what we’ve been able to do from last summer to this summer — lowering gas prices by a dollar twenty cents, that is because of the work that this administration has done,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this month.
Over the last year, the administration has repeatedly taken credit for the occasional dip in gas prices even as prices remained high and Americans struggled to keep up with the cost.
A year ago in September, President Biden claimed that the average gas price was below $2.99 in 41 states and the District of Columbia. In fact, the average gas price at the time was only under $3.99, not $2.99.
After news outlets pointed out the error, the White House corrected the official transcript of Biden’s remarks to read the correct figure of $3.99.
“I’m going to get those gas prices down again, I promise you,” Biden said last week.
Critics have called on Biden to take responsibility when gas prices rise, but the administration has not been eager to do so. Some have also pointed out that the national average gas price the day before Biden took office was $2.38, according to AAA, over a dollar less than Thursday’s $3.83 average.
Meanwhile, gas prices were the leading cause of August’s 0.6% jump in inflation.
With election season kicking into gear, gas prices will likely be featured more prominently in the political conversation, especially the question of whether the Biden administration plays a role in keeping prices high.