Gas prices are about to soar dramatically, possibly increasing 30 cents a gallon by the weekend, according to consumer advocates and an industry expert.
The increases are tied to the forthcoming switch to summer-blend gasoline, which is designed to reduce pollution in warmer weather and costs more to produce. Wholesale prices jumped 51 or 52 cents a gallon this week because of the summer-blend issue, they said on Thursday.
Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy organization, scheduled a news conference at its Santa Monica headquarters Thursday to warn motorists of the impending price spike.
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"Consumer advocates will advise California drivers to take advantage of today's gasoline prices because they will be gone by Friday and keep climbing for the foreseeable future," a Consumer Watchdog statement said before the news conference, forecasting a 30-cent-per-gallon increase.
"It's true," said Marie Montgomery of the Automobile Club of Southern California, adding that a distribution problem is also a factor.
The summer blend is to be in gas stations by April 1. Consumer Watchdog said "fire-sale prices on remaining winter stocks" are now at an end.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County dropped today to its lowest amount since May 6, 2009, decreasing eight-tenths of a cent to $2.361. The Orange County average price dropped one- tenth of a cent today to $2.346, its lowest amount since May 5, 2009.
According to Thursday's warning, an imminent return to the $3 range is imminent.
City News Service contributed to this report.