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California's Gas Average Tops $6 Per Gallon as Prices Surge Across the U.S.

Jeff Gritchen | Medianews Group | Getty Images
  • California's statewide average for a gallon of gas has surged to a record above $6.
  • The national average for gas hit $4.523 on Tuesday, according to AAA, also a record.
  • The rapidly rising price of gas is contributing to inflationary pressures across the economy.

California's state average for a gallon of gas has surged above $6, making fuel in the Golden State the most expensive across the U.S.

The average price at the pump in California hit a record $6.021 per gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA. Prices are up 31 cents per gallon over the last month, and $1.89 higher than a year ago.

While California's prices are the highest in the country, the national average of $4.523 is also a record, with every state now averaging more than $4, according to AAA.

The sharp jump is in part due to a rise in oil prices, which makes up more than half of the total price of gasoline.

"The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers," Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said Monday in a statement.

"Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year," he added.

A lack of refining capacity is also pushing up prices. Refiners turn oil into petroleum products like gasoline and demand for such products is surging as economic activity returns. But refining capacity is lower than pre-pandemic levels, which contributes to their rapid price rise.

Retail diesel prices are rising upward, too, with the national average hitting a record $5.573 per gallon on Tuesday. Prices are up $2.40 over the last year.

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