Gas price prognosticators have a warming message for California drivers.
"Prepare to get clobbered," Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with GasBuddy.com, told the San Jose Mercury News.
Wholesale gas prices in California are 70 cents higher than in other parts of the country, according to the newspaper. Motorists last week received an unwelcome surprise when they saw prices jump 16 cents in a day, a spike caused by the rarity of California's mandated cleaner-burning gasoline blend, the newspaper reported.
Refinery problems on the West Coast mean our gas prices are higher than on the East Coast, which burns a different blend and isn't hooked into the same problem refineries, the newspaper reported.
The gas supply is at its lowest level in 20 years, DeHaan told the newspaper.
Prices could rise as much as 20 cents higher over the weekend thanks to the much higher wholesale price on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the newspaper reported.
The California average for a galllon of regular unleaded is currently $4.23, the newspaper reported. The national average is $3.74.
Bloomberg News reported that Phillips 66, Royal Dutch Shell and Tesoro are working to repair refinery units at three out of the five refineries in the Bay Area. BP's Cherry Point refinery in Washington state is also out of service, "but could restart production early next week," the newspaper reported.