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SoCal Gas Prices Set To Rise As Lockdown Orders Eased

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Angelenos who have been enjoying lower gas prices during the coronavirus pandemic could soon see that luxury disappear.

With California Gov. Gavin Newsom set to ease stay-at-home orders beginning Friday, gas prices will likely increase as more people hit the roads.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been packed with dozens of oil tankers docked in their waters over the past several weeks. Due to the worldwide excess supply, the tankers -- filled with oil -- have nowhere to go and nowhere else to store it.

On a normal day, there will be three to five tankers docked around the ports. However, according to CBS News, there were 21 as of May 1.

The U.S. Coast Guard was forced to hike its security around the tankers last month.

"We have filled all of the storage tanks at refineries all in California," oil industry analyst Professor Iraj Ershaghi told CBS News Wednesday.

Since Feb. 26, the average price of gas in L.A. County had decreased or remained the same for 69 straight days, before finally increasing for the first time Wednesday.

It rose again Thursday to $2.826 per gallon.

With some oil refineries shut down, Ershaghi told CBS News that if the demand increases to quickly, California could go the other way and actually see oil shortages.

"All of a sudden you go up and you don't have the refinery operation, you don't have the capacity, well, you're gonna have shortages," he said.

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