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Several factors are behind rising gas prices on Central Coast

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Flickr member Mike Mozart
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A steep jump in gas prices along the Central Coast is likely to continue for the time being. Maria Montgomery with AAA says the rise has mostly been fueled by problems in Southern California.

"We've seen prices rise in the Central Coast area over a dollar in the last month and it is primary because a local refinery in Torrance has been affected by an explosion and that has sent wholesale prices skyrocketing," said Montgomery.

She also says investors playing the futures market are driving up prices based on speculation, but once they are better able to assess the situation, speculative pricing should stabilize or even fall.

Another factor behind the ongoing rise in gas prices is the shift from a winter fuel blend, only required in California.

In a rare twist, Southern California gas prices are about six cents higher per gallon right now than in San Luis Obispo County. That's likely due to proximity to Torrance, and the ability to ship in supplies from Northern California.

This summer, Californians should see prices fall slightly when the state drops its taxing structure by about six cents per gallon, according to AAA.