Gas prices to spike with switch to summer blend

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SAN DIEGO -- The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County recorded its largest daily increase since July 15 on Friday, rising 3.8 cents to $2.378.

“I shop. I'm a shopper. You know I wasn’t going to pay $2.65 for gas," said Nevada resident Robert Ensler.

Ensler is visiting from Las Vegas, where they pay an average of $1.60 a gallon for regular unleaded.

“Pump prices in coming days will be affected by the summer blend of fuel, although that blend is not even being sold yet,'' said Jeffrey Spring, the Automobile Club of Southern California's corporate communications manager.

“Los Angeles fuel wholesale prices jumped 51 cents on Wednesday, mainly because of futures investments for March gasoline. Also, refineries are having distribution problems with the summer blend of gasoline.''

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.

Winter blend gasoline begins being sold on Nov. 1.

Friday's increase ends a stretch of 49 decreases in 50 days, totaling 72.3 cents, dropping the average price to its lowest amount since April 7, 2009, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price decreased for 24 consecutive days, was unchanged Jan. 31, then resumed dropping Feb. 1.

Despite Friday's increase, the average price is 6.7 cents less than one week ago, 40.7 cents lower than one month ago and 82.5 cents below what it was one year ago.

“What are you going to do right? What are you going to do?" consumer Luca Fanecco said.

For consumers, the pain at the pump is a necessary evil.

"Gotta get around, gotta pay the gas no matter what it costs," Fanecco said.