VICTORVILLE — It took nearly 18 months to replicate, but gasoline prices have once again reached the $3 per gallon average mark in California.
California's gas prices have risen nearly 40 cents per gallon in the last three months, with the recent hike pushing the price to a number that hasn't been seen since Sept. 26, 2015, according to GasBuddy.com.
The state's $3 mark also mirrors the average price and timeline of fuel prices in San Bernardino County. At this time last year, local commuters paid an average of $2.50 just before the price spiked nearly 40 cents about a month later.
Several gas stations in the Victor Valley were selling fuel near the $3 per gallon mark, but there were still plenty of locations boasting prices under $2.70, such as Fastrip on Main Street in Hesperia, which were selling gas at $2.55, the lowest in the High Desert.
A handful of stations in Barstow were offering gas for $2.69 per gallon, including the Valero at the corner of Armory and Barstow roads and the ARCO off Montara and Dill roads. However, there were a couple of Barstow stations, Mobil and Chevron, selling gas for more than $3.50 per gallon.
The lowest price in Victorville was Costco off Valley Center Drive at $2.55, while the Circle K off Happy Trails Highway and Mondamon Road in Apple Valley was selling it for $2.77 per gallon.
In Adelanto, 5 Points Petroleum off Sportsman Center was at $2.73 a gallon on Wednesday.
The average price of gasoline in the nation on Wednesday was $2.31 a gallon, with the state of Hawaii seeing the highest prices in the nation at $3.06 and South Carolina the lowest at $2.04.
Part of the blame for the recent increase in fuel can be placed on OPEC's November decision to cut oil production, which boosted oil prices, while in the last three weeks California's transition to CARB-mandated cleaner gasoline has added nearly 20 cents in a month, GasBuddy said.
"With OPEC's production cuts boosting oil prices and the typical seasonal factors pushing gas prices higher, California's average gas price has hit $3 per gallon, and will likely continue moving higher. It's likely average prices could rise another 20-40 cents per gallon over the next few months, making it the most painful spring and summer at the pump in years," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst.
Southern California has begun the transition to summer blend fuel and will complete it by April 1, while areas of Central California will complete it by May 1 and areas of Northern California by June 1.
Fuel experts warned that commuters across the nation should prepare for a "spring sting" as gas prices are expected to spike and rise 35 to 75 cents just in time for spring break travel plans. They also added that prices should plateau sometime in May, the Daily Press reported last month.
Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter@DP_ReneDeLaCruz.