Bay Area gasoline was more expensive than any place in the country for the month of April, according to new data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Gasoline prices averaged just under $4 a gallon in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area. That's about 37 cents higher than last April in the region, and 38 percent more than the $2.89 national average.
Out of the 23 metropolitan areas surveyed by the bureau, only Los Angeles and San Diego were close to the $4 mark and the only non-Western city that lingered above $3 per gallon was Chicago, where the average price was $3.07, according to BLS economist Todd Johnson.
Drivers have endured gasoline prices from about 24 percent higher to 38 percent higher than the national average in April every year for the past five years.
"California gas is chemically different than that of the rest of the country because of air pollution controls and such. It costs more," Johnson said.
Competitive factors like supply and demand and the region's high cost of living also contribute to i ts high gasoline prices, Johnson said.
"This is not a really unusual situation," Johnson said. "But it's inching up to the point where it looks more alarming than it has in the past."
Gasoline wasn't the only thing Bay Area residents paid more than average for in April - electricity was 56.3 percent more than the national average at 21.1 cents per kilowatt hour and natural gas was about $1.62 per therm, or 57.1 percent above the average for the rest of the country.
The BLS defines the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metropolitan area as consisting of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.