Prices at the pump in California are nearing $6 per gallon as refinery issues persist.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in California hovered around $5.79 on Thursday, up 29 cents from a week ago and 54 cents from last month, according to data from AAA.
In some areas, costs are surging beyond the $6 mark, like in Long Beach, where prices are sitting at $6.06 a gallon. That's up 70 cents over the past month. Alpine County, on the state border with Nevada, is seeing the average price of gas nearing $7 per gallon, according to AAA data.
Lipow Oil Associates President Andy Lipow blamed the uptick on refinery outages.
"There have been a series of them starting with Hurricane Hilary, which caused some power outages, followed by problems at Chevron refineries" in the Bay Area and Los Angeles and a few other locations, Lipow told FOX Business.
On top of that, the PBF Torrance refinery in Torrance is shutting down several gasoline-producing units for scheduled maintenance, Lipow added.
According to the California Energy Commission, 90% of the gasoline consumed in California is from in-state refineries, meaning that "significant unplanned refinery outages contribute to increases in the price at the pump."
West Coast gasoline inventories were at their lowest level going into Labor Day this year since October 2022, according to Lipow.
California refinery capacity, in particular, is down 9.5% since 2020, Lipow said. The problem is slated to get worse at the end of the year when Phillips 66 shuts down its refinery in the Bay Area, Lipow added.
When that happens, there will only be three refineries in the Bay Area and five in the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas that produce gasoline, he added.
Typically, the 14 oil refineries in the state that are located in the Bay Area, Central Valley and Los Angeles process more than 1.6 million barrels of crude oil per day.
The issues in California are also hurting drivers in other areas of the country. For instance, refineries in Texas and New Mexico — which supply gasoline to Arizona — also faced operating problems. When they have operating problems, Arizona turns to California for additional supply, according to Lipow.
Prices in Arizona sat at $4.65 per gallon, an increase of 14 cents over the past week and up 42 cents from a month ago, according to AAA data.
AAA spokesperson Andy Gross told FOX Business that the "pump pain in that region will last until the refineries are back up to speed."
Here are the counties in California where prices are near or above $6 a gallon:
San Bernardino: $5.95
San Diego: $5.99
Los Angeles: $6.06
Santa Barbara: $5.91
San Luis Obispo: $6.01