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The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose 3.1 cents Friday to $3.889, one day after rising 6.7 cents, its largest daily increase since July 15.

The average price has risen three consecutive days after a 26-day streak of decreases, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. The average price decreased 51.3 cents during the streak.

The average price is 1.4 cents more than one week ago and one-tenth of a cent higher than one year ago, but 31.5 cents less than one month ago.

The Orange County average price rose 3 cents to $3.835, one day after rising 6.3 cents, its largest increase since July 15. A 26-day streak of decreases totaling 52.4 cents ended Wednesday with an increase of nine-tenths of a cent.

The Orange County average price is 1 cent more than one week ago, but 32.3 cents less than one month ago and nine-tenths of a cent lower than one year ago.

The increases stem from “the unique dynamics of U.S. wholesale markets,” according to Allison Mac, a West Coast petroleum analyst for, which bills itself as the nation’s leading provider of retail fuel pricing information and data.

“When buyers outnumber sellers, or when short sellers have to cover positions, the price of gas can move at light speed,” Mac said.

“Southern California is still volatile given we are one refinery short, so even small things can have a huge impact,” Mac told City News Service, referring to the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance that is operating at under 20 percent capacity because of an explosion in February. “The spike shouldn’t last long.”

ExxonMobil Corp. has asked air quality officials to allow it to increase refining operations at the Torrance facility, the Los Angeles Times reported. The company’s plan includes use of an old pollution-control system to temporarily replace one damaged in the February explosion, which injured four people.

The old equipment is expected to release pollutants at levels that will violate rules of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, but the proposal includes steps to help mitigate the emissions, according to The Times.

The company plans to modify five cooling towers and shut down a boiler to reduce overall emissions from the refinery. In addition, ExxonMobil will operate the refinery at a capacity of about 80 percent to 85 percent to help control emissions.

The proposal will go before the air quality agency’s board during a public hearing Sept. 2, according to The Times. If it’s approved, ExxonMobil could increase its operations in Torrance by mid- to late September.

“We believe their mitigations are sufficient,” Mohsen Nazemi, AQMD deputy executive officer, told The Times.

Also on Thursday, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued 19 citations against ExxonMobil for the February explosion and fined the company $566,600, The Times reported.

—Staff and wire reports

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