The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County topped $5 for the first time Friday, thanks to the largest daily increase since July 13, 2015, rising 12.9 cents to $5.104.
The average price has risen 29 of the past 32 days, increasing 48 cents, including 8 cents Thursday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 29.2 cents more than one week ago, 43.8 cents higher than one month ago and $1.353 greater than one year ago.
Oil industry analysts attribute the price spike to the possibility of a supply shortage because traders, shippers, insurance companies and banks are avoiding Russian oil transactions for fear of running afoul of Western sanctions.
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Russia was the third-largest source of oil products sold in the U.S. last year — behind only Mexico and Canada — and responsible for 8% of all imports. Russia is also the United States' second-largest supplier of platinum, a metal used to build exhausts for automobiles.
The end of the price spike is "largely dependent on world events and oil prices, as well as California's gasoline supply issues which often tend to occur in the spring months," said Marie Montgomery, a public relations specialist with the Automobile Club of Southern California.
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Crude oil costs account for slightly more than half of the pump price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The rest of the price includes the other components of gasoline, production costs, distribution costs, overhead costs for all involved in production, distribution and sales, taxes and carbon offset fees in California paid by the refineries.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude for May delivery on the Intercontinental Exchange dropped $2.47 to $110.46 Thursday, one day after rising to its highest settlement value since June 27, 2014, $112.93. Brent crude is the global oil benchmark, accounting for approximately 80% of the world's crude oil.