The price for a gallon of gas in Orange County, Calif., inched up a penny to $4.30 Wednesday. Overall local gas prices increased 58 cents in the past month, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.
Wednesday's hike marks 27 consecutive days of gas price increases that began on January 25, according to Automobile Club of Southern California. The county has seen the greatest month-over-month price jump in the state.
The only the bright spot: The increases appear to be slowing. "It's sort of mellowed out a little bit," AAA spokesman Jeffrey Spring said Wednesday.
Analysts say gas prices typically increase during this time of the year, when refineries shut down temporarily to switch to a cleaner summer fuel blend. But this year, Spring said, "refineries did more maintenance than usual, and started earlier than usual."
The refineries are now finishing up their maintenance cycles and getting back to full production, he said.
Orange County drivers now pay 14 percent more than the national average of $3.76 per gallon. Some of that can be explained by the state's gas tax of 67.1 cents per gallon. That's higher than all states except New York, and 18.3 cents higher than the national average, according to the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association in Washington D.C.
Gas station owners and analysts also say that prices are higher in the California because state regulations requires a special formula of gas that is made by fewer refineries and costs more to produce.
Only three of the 25 California regions tracked by AAA had an average price of less than $4 per gallon. Those lower prices were in the Central Valley communities of Chico-Paradise, Modesto and Yuba City.
Register report Doug Irving contributed to this story.
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