LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With more people returning to school and work, something else has made a pre-pandemic comeback – high gas prices.
The average price of a gallon of regular, self-serve gasoline is now $4.41, the highest its hit this year. Gas prices in Los Angeles County have gone up more than a dollar since January, and have risen 1.3 cents in just the past five days.
In Orange County, there hasn't been a change in recent days, but overall, prices there have also gone up $1.15 since the start of the year.
The price of gas in the Inland Empire is also up to an average of $4.34 per gallon.
AAA has previously said expensive crude oil prices were driving up costs, but increased demand may be an even bigger driver. More people are returning to their workplaces, but the biggest difference may be that most of Southern California's universities have returned to in-person learning.
During the early days of the pandemic, gas prices and driving overall were at a historic low due to lockdowns and the state's safer-at-home orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now that more than 70% of Californians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, more workplaces, schools, and businesses are reopening.
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