Retail prices for regular gasoline in West Coast states rose a record 37.2 cents a gallon since last week to $3.12 a gallon on Monday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.
The increase marks the largest week-to-week increase in the region since the EIA's weekly survey of West Coast prices began in 1992, the government agency said.
Prices were lowest in the Rocky Mountain states at $2.12 a gallon, up 8.2 cents, the EIA said.
California, which relies heavily on in-state production to meet its large demand for fuels, has seen its output hampered by an explosion and fire at Exxon Mobil Corp.'s 155,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in Torrance, California, on Feb. 18. Units unaffected by the blast are operating.
In the San Francisco area, Tesoro Corp.'s 166,000 bpd Golden Eagle refinery in Martinez stopped producing gasoline last month amid a labor strike. The company last week said the refinery had resumed turnaround work and was making plans to restart the plant.
The rapid price increase has raised the ire of consumer advocates, who plan to use a California state Senate hearing into the Torrance incident on Thursday to argue that oil companies are guilty of price gouging.
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