Gas prices hit record high in California

Gas prices in California reached an all-time high on Monday as the average cost of a regular gallon hit $4.68. 

The prices of gas rose in several California counties. In Los Angeles County, the average price was $4.67, nearing a record set nine years ago, while Orange County prices spiked to an average of $4.64, according to The Los Angeles Times

Doug Shupe, spokesman for the American Automobile Association (AAA) of Southern California, attributed the price hikes to higher crude oil costs and an increased demand for fuel, the Times reported.

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“We had really, really low demand during the pandemic, and then it just ramped up rapidly as more and more people became vaccinated,” Shupe said, per the Times. “The desire to get out there and travel really picked up quickly.”

AAA spokesman Jeffrey Spring also told the Times that weather-related issues like heavy rains that "inundated" California’s oil refineries with water contributed to rising prices.

Gas prices in California are well over the already high national average, which fell to $3.41 per gallon last week, down one cent from national averages from the previous week, but up more than $1 from this time last year. 

On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports MORE (D-N.Y) urged President Joe Biden to make use of emergency petroleum reserves in an effort to bring gas prices down prior to the holiday season. 

Analysts, however, have said that making use of the reserves would provide only a short-term solution and wouldn't increase the country's production capabilities. 

While Biden has not committed to making use of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmWhite House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season Buttigieg has high name recognition, favorability rating in Biden Cabinet: survey Energy chief describes oil reserve release as 'bridge' before prices fall MORE has said the president is considering it as an option. 

“That's one of the tools that he has, and he's certainly looking at that,” Granholm has said on CNN. 

Granholm also said that she was hopeful gas prices would not reach a national average of $4 per gallon.