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Central Coast gas prices on the rise, but possibly down in time for summer

Flickr member Mike Mozart

Gas prices on the Central Coast are nearly 30 cents higher per-gallon than they were just a week ago. Statewide they've jumped 44 cents per-gallon over the past two weeks.

As of Thursday, a gallon of regular unleaded in San Luis Obispo County was going for $3.64, that's up from $3.34 last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. In Santa Barbara County, those numbers jumped from $3.23 to $3.56.

AAA said the prices on the West Coast are the highest in the nation because of regional refinery problems and relatively tight fuel supplies. California has seen the most expensive prices overall since late February when the state surpassed Hawaii for the first time this year.

Repairs to the Exxon Mobile refinery in Torrance, which had an explosion in February, aren't expected to be completed until July.

"Despite recent price increases, drivers should still pay the lowest gas prices for the summer driving season in at least five years," AAA said Thursday. "It is even possible that gas prices will reach the lowest summertime levels in a decade if the cost of crude oil drops again."