The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose to a record $4.706 Wednesday, erasing the 9-year-old record following more than 18 months of increases due to rising demand after the relaxation of coronavirus-related restrictions.
The average price dropped to its 2020 low of $2.822 on May 5, its lowest amount since New Year’s Day, 2017, largely because of a sharp decrease in demand as people reduced driving because of stay-at-home orders and higher unemployment stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, according to Jeffrey Spring, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s corporate communications manager.
As the restrictions were lifted, demand and prices increased.
The record was also the result of the price of a barrel of West Texas intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange quadrupling from $20.33 in April 2020 to $84.65 on Oct. 26, 2021, its highest amount since 2014. It settled at $78.50 Tuesday.
Crude oil costs account for slightly more than half of the pump price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County has risen 14 of the past 15 days, increasing 11.5 cents, including two-tenths of a cent Wednesday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 2.1 cents more than one week ago, 15.2 cents higher than one month ago and $1.564 greater than one year ago.
The previous record price of $4.705 was set Oct. 9, 2012.