The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose 6.6 cents Friday, its largest increase since Oct. 6, to $3.915, the highest price since Nov. 10.
The average price has risen 29 of the past 31 days and 33 of the past 36, including 3.9 cents on Thursday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
The average price is 16.5 cents more than one week ago, 29.7 cents higher than one month ago and 12.3 cents greater than one year ago.
The Los Angeles County average price is the highest in the state. The lowest average price is $3.638 in Modesto.
"The usual culprits are being listed as reasons for the spike -- high oil prices, Middle East tension, local refinery incidents and refineries being brought down for maintenance as they prepare to produce the summer blend of gasoline,'' said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.
"But perhaps equally if not more importantly, say oil industry analysts, financial market managers see refined gasoline as a `sure bet' for their clients' portfolios. Big investment money is flowing earlier and earlier into gasoline trading, ahead of the usual `spring spike.'
"Southern California is a particularly vulnerable market for shortages because it has no inexpensive alternatives if local refinery production is down, and traders are aware of this.''
From City News Service