Gas prices continue upward trend after recent lows

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SAN DIEGO — The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County rose Thursday for the seventh consecutive day, increasing nine-tenths of a cent to $2.499, after dropping 49 times in 50 days.

The average price has risen 15.9 cents over the past seven days, including 2.3 cents on Wednesday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

However, the average price is 19 cents less than a month ago and 97.9 cents lower than this time last year because it fell 72.3 cents when it went down 49 times in 50 days before the start of the current increases.

The average price had dropped to its lowest amount since April 7, 2009, before the increases began.

The increases at the pump follow increases in the wholesale price, mainly due to futures investments for March gasoline, and problems by refineries in producing the summer blend of gasoline, according to Jeffrey Spring, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s corporate communications manager.

Regulations require most Southern California gas stations to switch to selling summer blend fuel by April 1. The summer blend gasoline reduces air pollution in warmer temperatures and is more expensive to produce.