California residents are being threatened with gas prices as high as $4 per gallon heading into the summer after wildfires caused damage to oil refineries in the area.
According to the AAA gas price tracker, California has already seen an average 12-cent spike in gas prices over the last week. In some of the rural areas of northern and eastern California, the price per gallon is already above $4, with the urban centers along the west coast averaging between $3.77 and $3.88 per gallon.
Gasoline in California is already the highest-priced in the nation, according to AAA. The price increases are mainly due to California’s strict gasoline control standards, offering a clean-burning type of fuel that is only produced by refineries in the state.
The massive wildfires over the last year in California rendered refineries incapable of keeping up with demand, resulting in the price swings across the state. Local refineries are already 17 percent behind in production, according to data from the California Energy Commission.
While other areas of the U.S. won’t be as hard hit, higher prices are likely in store across the country. Kiplinger forecasts that gas will hit close to an average $3 per gallon this spring, the first time to hit that mark in five years, with regular unleaded up 27 cents from a month ago to $2.69 per gallon.