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Gas Prices Continue To Skyrocket

The unexpected shutdowns of two refineries caused gas prices in California to surge last week.

The Energy Department says the supply disruption boosted gas price to an average of $2.03 a gallon. Analysts say the increase is a sign of what´s to come in the peak summer driving season. California´s gas market is notoriously volatile because strict clean-air rules require a steady flow of specially formulated gas. When the refineries shut down, the tighter-than-usual supply drives up the prices.

The Tesoro refinery in Martinez and the Valero refinery in Wilmington are expected to restart later this week, and that should help moderate prices.

Gasoline prices went up as much as 7 cents a gallon in California over the weekend, and the sudden hike has drivers worried.

They say prices usually go up in the summer, but they´re already climbing — and it´s not even spring yet. Some businesses have raised their delivery rates, and one man says he´s considering flying from San Diego to San Francisco instead of driving.

The spike is due to outages at two state refineries, thus disrupting the supply. Other factors include OPEC´s decision to cut oil production by a million barrels a day beginning in April 1, creating new demands.

The two refineries are expected to be running again later this week. But analysts say that might not result in lower gas prices, at least in the short run.