Gas prices have climbed over $5 per gallon in Southern California this week, and experts with AAA are unsure when drivers will see relief.

“The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.04,” AAA said in a release, “which is 10 cents higher than a week ago.”

In the Los Angeles-Long Beach region, gas prices topped out at an average of $5.13 per gallon. That’s about 20 cents higher than last month but nearly 50 cents below prices seen at the same time last year; prices at the pump hit historic highs in the state in 2022, and Gov. Gavin Newsom placed the blame squarely on Big Oil.

AAA officials chalked up this price spike to a cutback in oil production by OPEC and a rise in oil prices.

“Oil prices have gone up to levels that they weren’t at since April of this year,” said Marie Montgomery, a AAA spokesperson.

As of Tuesday, oil prices were set at $86.60 per barrel, up from $86.45 per barrel in the week prior.

“And the reason for that is that OPEC has been implementing their production cuts that they announced,” Montgomery said, “and that has tightened some supply.”

Drivers in Southern California were already paying $4.80 to $4.90 for a gallon of gas, Montgomery added, and there was “nowhere to go but up over $5.”

The news is not all bleak, however.

According to AAA, California has increased oil stockpiles and imports, which could provide some relief to drivers by driving down wholesale prices.

“At the very least, [prices] should stop going up so quickly,” Montgomery said.

But it was unclear when Californians might see a downturn in prices.

“It looks like prices will probably be at this level, at least, for the next week,” Montgomery said. “We’ll just have to see what happens after that.”

In the meantime, AAA advised drivers to maximize their vehicles’ fuel efficiency by inflating tires to the recommended pressure, putting vehicles in cruise control on highways when safe, and driving at reduced speeds.

Montgomery also urged drivers to do some research before filling up.

“The good news is that there are still plenty of gas stations that are well below that average price,” Montgomery said. “And it’s just really a good idea for consumers, right now, to aggressively shop around for those lower prices.”

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