San Diegans feeling the pain at the pump as gas prices increase

Prices in San Diego County are up more than 12 cents a gallon from a week ago and nearly 42 cents since the start of the year.

SAN DIEGO — Gas prices across San Diego County are on rise. Prices have started to increase over the past several days since the attacks on a Saudi Arabian refinery.

“It’s noticeably more expensive than when I came in the beginning of the week,” said San Diego driver Deonte St. Hill. “When you drive a car that has bad gas mileage, like I do, it makes you not want to drive any more. These prices are getting ridiculous.”  

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Prices in San Diego County are up more than 12 cents a gallon from a week ago and nearly 42 cents since the start of the year. Traditionally, this is the time of year when prices decrease as refineries switch to a winter and cheaper blend of gas. 

But experts point to the attacks on a Saudi Arabian refinery for causing the markets to jitter. 

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"We've never seen such a significant and abrupt disruption in global oil production,” said Patrick Dehaan, Gasbuddy’s head of petroleum analysis. "The quicker this output is restored, the less risk to motorists." 

Markets like stability and what happened in Saudi Arabia is anything but. The price of crude oil immediately increased and eventually that trickles down to your corner gas station. 

But owners don't like to wait and get stuck with a massive bill so they end up estimating what they think their next shipment of gas will cost. The result is a large spread until station owners get a better sense of how prices will shake out. 

“A lot of times what we see may seem like ‘oh, they’re asking me to pay before they pay,’ and in some ways that's true,” said Georjeane Blumling with AAA. “Because they know they're going to have to pay more and this helps offset so that when they do get the additional gas, that dramatic increase does not happen.”   

RELATED: Top 10 lowest gas prices & best gas stations in San Diego

Some drivers considered filling up to hedge against more spikes. Gasbuddy says that could cause a run leading to more problems. 

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"What motorists should do, or could do in this case, is try to reduce their demand for a week or two,” said Dehaan. “That would make a sizable difference, if we could all scale back, just a little bit." 

St. Hill said he plans to heed the advice, if anything, to limit the number of times he has to fill up. 

“I definitely have to cut back soon,” he said. “I’m going to Uber.”