The gasoline prices in California are spiking this week. We are seeing mid $4 range per gallon everywhere and some places are showing over $5 per gallon.
California regulations require a special formulation of gasoline for low emissions standards. There are a small number of refineries that can produce this type. The spike in prices are caused by 4 separate events at 4 different refineries in California. These events have reduced the output of California gasoline with the demand not changing - hence a significant and quick rise in prices at the pump.
The analysts say this is temporary and once these events blow over, prices will be back down to "normal" - which is less than $4 for regular unleaded grade.
In my experience, gas prices jump up quickly but rarely return to normal quickly, if ever.
Gas prices in California are typically higher than anywhere else in the contiguous 48 states. This, among other reasons, it why Tesla cars sell well in California (and perhaps in other countries with higher gasoline prices).
I'm looking forward to my Model S so I don't need to wait in the long gas lines that this "temporary" issue has now created.