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Gas prices pass $4 a gallon mark
gas pic
Gas prices are increasing throughout the state and in Turlock, but drivers can find the lowest prices at Arco gas stations throughout the city. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

For the first time in five years, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in California has eclipsed more than $4 a gallon. 

According to AAA, which monitors gas prices throughout the state, the cost of a gallon of gasoline has risen more than 40 cents since the start of the month as refinery troubles in the Bay Area has limited the supply, and the switchover to the state-mandated summer blend of gasoline – which is intended to cut down on air pollution – goes into effect. 

Currently in Manteca Costco, located in the Stadium Center at the corner of Daniels Street and Airport Way, is the cheapest gas in town at $3.65 per gallon, and a pair of independents – Diamond Gas and Food Mart located at Yosemite and Powers Avenues, and Manteca Liquor and Gas located at Main and Jason Streets – are just a slight tick more expensive at $3.67 per gallon. 

And while large portions of the country still enjoy gas prices at far below $3 per gallon, the price spike along the Western United States has driven the price of the average gallon up significantly since the start of 2019. According to, which tracks gas prices across the country, the average cost per gallon hit a low in January of $2.22 per gallon in the United States, and is rapidly approaching last year’s high at roughly the same time – when the switch to summer blend, which is more expensive for refineries to produce, goes into effect. 

But gas prices in California aren’t expected to keep rising indefinitely. 

With refineries expected to be able to catch up with the demand for the cleaner-burning summer fuel and out-of-state companies already flooding the market with California-appropriate gasoline to help stabilize prices, experts believe things will plateau over the next month and stabilize throughout the busy summer driving season. 

“It’s going to be a long summer if this keeps up like this,” Mark Jensen said while getting gas on Wednesday at a local Chevron, where he has a card for his business. “We’re pretty used to seeing spikes like this, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen these numbers on the screen.”

Gas prices tend to remain relatively steady between the major driving holidays – Memorial Day and Labor Day – before going back down when the switch to the cheaper-to-produce winter blend happens.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.