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Gas prices spike across the county and could go even higher

Several stations are now charging more than $6 a gallon even if you pay with cash.

SAN DIEGO — Gas prices in San Diego County shot up 23.5 cents a gallon in a week. According to GasBuddy, the average price for a gallon in the county is now $5.71. 

“It’s ridiculous right now,” said Michael Samuela as his put gas in his car Monday afternoon. He stopped pumping at $26 dollars even though his tank still wasn’t full. “Just enough to get to work and back home.”

CBS 8 found several stations around Kearny Mesa already charging well over $6 a gallon, even if you pay with cash. And experts believe things will get worse before they get better. 

“I don't think we've hit the top yet,” said Patrick De Haan, the Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy. He says several factors are pushing up prices, including refinery problems. “Four major refineries have had issues in recent weeks. Almost all of them in Southern California. That's causing San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles prices all to make a big jump as these outages have impacted gasoline supply.”

He also said oil producers overseas are taking positions that make a bad situation worse. 

“The Russians and the Saudis have declared a war on low oil prices,” he said. “They did that earlier this summer as the price of oil hit $65. Those countries, Russia, Saudi Arabia cut production.”

Finally, he blames the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for forcing stations here to continue selling the more expensive summer blend of gas despite the rest of the country moving to winter blend September 15. 

“Keep in mind that while the rest of the nation has transitioned back to cheaper winter gasoline, CARB has mandated that Southern California use summer gasoline until the end of October, so that's one of the crutches holding up prices as well,” he said.

De Haan is hopeful refineries will come on line soon, pushing prices back down. In the meantime, San Diegans say filling the tank is definitely draining the budget. 

“Cutting lunches, cutting dinners, money is tight as it is so we definitely need some help out here for sure,” said Kyle Harrington as he filled his tank. 

Gas prices traditionally drop this time of year because the summer travel season is over and demand drops, but last year, we also saw a spike in September. Governor Gavin Newsom called for an early switch to the winter blend last year – which was granted and moved to October 1, saving drivers around 20 cents a gallon. There’s no word yet if Governor Newsom will make that same push this year.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego man warns of gas siphoning as fuel prices continue to climb

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