VIDEO: California could see $4 a gallon gas by Memorial Day

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2015 file photo, a motorist refuels his vehicle at a Westar gas station in Miami. Consumer inflation slowed in December 2017 to a tiny 0.1 percent gain as the cost of energy products tumbled after a big jump in November. The Labor Department says the December increase in consumer prices followed a much bigger 0.4 percent jump in November and was the smallest advance since a similar 0.1 percent rise in October. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The cost of filling up is going up.

Gas prices have jumped by about 25 cents a gallon since the first of the year.

Now there is a new prediction that we’ll see a return of $4 a gallon gas by Memorial Day.

And the new state gas tax isn’t the only cause.

California has always been the red spot on what the website GasBuddy.com calls its heat map of gas prices.

Right now, we are paying an average of a dollar more a gallon than drivers in Texas–and it’s going to get worse.

No one is predicting a return to the record levels of six years ago, but we may soon find ourselves dinged for $4 a gallon.

First, there is the state gas tax, a 12-cent hike went into effect last November.

Only Pennsylvania drivers pay more.

Then, there is the calendar.

Refineries reduce production in the springtime to do maintenance and to prepare for the switch to summer-formula gas.

Add to that, California’s unique regulations specifying the blends of emissions-limiting gasoline.

That means the state cannot import gas on short notice if refineries suddenly stop producing.

And finally, United States refineries are selling more of their output abroad, where China and other countries are willing to pay top dollar.

Since the start of the year, California gas prices have gone up 20 cents to a statewide average of $3.33 a gallon.

GasBuddy says the average is more than $3.50 in San Francisco and $3.30 in Los Angeles.

Compare that to $2.23 in Houston.

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