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Inland Empire gas prices rise sharply again

Published On: Feb 01 2013 08:12:17 AM CST
Gas pumps

Pam Roth/SXC

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular  gasoline rose 5.9 cents in the Inland Empire today, the steepest jump since  Oct. 6, hitting $3.864, the highest price since Nov. 10.

      The average price in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has increased  on six of the last seven days, including a hefty 3.8 cents Thursday. It is  16.4 cents more than one week ago, 27.6 cents higher than one month ago and  10.6 cents greater than one year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil  Price Information Service.

      "The usual culprits are being listed as reasons for the spike -- high  oil prices, Middle East tension, local refinery incidents and refineries being  brought down for maintenance as they prepare to produce the summer blend of  gasoline," said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

      "But perhaps equally if not more importantly, say oil industry  analysts, financial market managers see refined gasoline as a `sure bet' for  their clients' portfolios. Big investment money is flowing earlier and earlier  into gasoline trading, ahead of the usual `spring spike.'

      "Southern California is a particularly vulnerable market for shortages  because it has no inexpensive alternatives if local refinery production is  down, and traders are aware of this."