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Gas prices rise over 40 cents in a week; could go higher before dropping

Regular gasoline prices in Las Vegas reached an average of $5.52 a gallon this week, more than 40 cents higher than the average price one week ago.

This is only 9 cents below Las Vegas’ highest recorded average price of $5.61, according to AAA data.

Average gas price in Nevada is the second-highest in the country, behind California. Nevada’s average is $5.50 a gallon, about 38 cents more than the price average one week ago. Compared to one month ago, gas prices in Nevada have risen on average by 66 cents, and by about 71 cents from last month in Las Vegas alone.

The state is about $1.70 higher than the national average, and 91 cents lower than California’s average. Los Angeles saw all-time gas price highs on Monday and Tuesday.

Gas prices in Nevada are heavily impacted by oil refinery activity in California, as Southern California and Utah refineries supply Southern Nevada. Five plants in California have recently undergone slowdowns or stoppages due to maintenance, spiking gas prices as a result, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said prices could rise a bit more before lowering again.

“Some West Coast states saw prices rise 35 to 55 cents per gallon in the last week as refinery issues continued to impact gasoline supply, which fell to its lowest level in a decade in the region, causing prices to skyrocket,” De Haan said in a blog post. “… (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) could decide to cut oil production by a million barrels as the global economy slows down, potentially creating a catalyst that could push gas prices up further.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked refineries to distribute a cheaper gasoline blend, typically reserved for winter months, a month earlier than normal in an attempt to lower costs for gas consumers.

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