By Jamie Yuccas, CBS EVENING NEWS
April 23, 2019
Los Angeles — For eight straight weeks, gas prices are climbing across the country, up more than 20 cents a gallon in a month. No one has been hit harder than California drivers, who are seeing their highest prices in nearly five years.
The average price for the golden state is now above $4. The highest price CBS News spotted was $4.79 a gallon near Los Angeles. The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Alabama at $2.50 a gallon. According to AAA, the national average is $2.85 per gallon.
The spike is being blamed on a switchover to the traditionally more expensive summer blend, as well as ongoing refinery issues at six out of 10 California refineries.
"When the refineries go down, the gas prices go up, up, up and they go up quickly," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.
Court said that difference of a dollar extra in California adds up.
"California becomes a piggy bank for these oil companies and they do it whenever it approaches on summer and we know a lot of people are going to hit the roads," Court said.
Which means don't expect much of a summer break. Just ask Uber driver Kierston Clark. She told CBS News she is probably driving an extra "four or five hours a week" to cover the difference.