A gallon of regular self-serve gasoline in San Diego County has risen 53 cents in a week to an average of $5.383. 

The price of regular self-serve gasoline in the county has hit its 18th record in the past 20 days. According to the AAA and Oil Price Information Service, the county recorded its second-largest increase since July 14, 2015, rising 11.2 cents on Sunday. 

The average price has risen 32 of the past 35 days, increasing 75.9 cents. It is 53.6 cents more than one week ago, 70.4 cents higher than one month ago, and $1.592 greater than one year ago.

Experts in the industry say the spike may be attributed to a global shortage of gasoline due to traders, shoppers, and insurance companies, banks are fearful of running afoul of the U.S. Western Sanctions. However, the market already faced pressure with COVID-19 restrictions, prompting price increases before Russia’s invasion into Ukraine on Feb.24. 

According to the AAA, the national average increased to $4.009 on Sunday, marking the highest increase since July 2008. Customers nationwide are paying about 40 cents more than a week ago with these increases. 

“There are few words to describe the unprecedented rise in gasoline prices over the last week, with massive spikes coast to coast in both gasoline and diesel prices, as oil prices jump to their highest since 2008,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“Forget the $4 per gallon mark, the nation will soon set new record highs and we could push closer to a national average of $4.50,” he said. 

According to GasBuddy, the average price of gasoline will likely set a new record within a day. ​​

The price spike "is not exactly surprising — it is the cost of choking off Russia from energy revenue," said De Haan. 

Crude oil costs account for slightly more than half of the pump price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The rest of the price includes the other components of gasoline, production costs, distribution costs, overhead costs for all involved in the production, distribution and sales, taxes and carbon offset fees in California paid by the refineries.

As gas prices continue to rise, here are some tips from AAA to help you save some money at the pump.

  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy.
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • Also, shop around for gas prices, sometimes lower prices are around the corner.

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