Central Coast travelers wanting to make a weekend trip may think twice about fueling up their vehicles after gas prices jumped almost 20 cents a gallon from Thursday to Friday throughout California.
As of Friday afternoon, the lowest gas price on the South Coast was $4.39 at USA Gasoline at 4069 State St., according to Gasbuddy.com. The highest was $4.99 at El Ranchero Market, 1502 San Andres St.
Lompoc was the place to buy gas in Santa Barbara County on Friday afternoon, with several stations reporting prices between $4.15 and $4.19. Buellton’s cheapest gas was at USA Gas at 197 E. Highway 246, while Santa Maria’s best price was $4.39 at Gasco, 815 W. Main St.
The average price across in California on Friday was $4.48 per gallon.
John Price, who is affiliated with 10 gas stations in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Montecito, told Noozhawk on Friday morning that he may be forced to shut down several stations temporarily due to the price increases.
Price called the situations surrounding the increases a “perfect storm,” revolving around a power outage that occurred Monday at Exxon Mobil’s refinery in Torrance, a Chevron pipeline that carries crude oil being down since September, and refineries dropping production to prepare for a seasonal switch to a different fuel blend.
“When product tightens up, we have to raise prices,” he said, adding that wholesale gasoline has increased 65 cents per gallon this week alone. “I’m hearing from a lot of consumers.”