The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Riverside County rose 1 cent Saturday to $4.161, its highest amount since Oct. 15, 2019.

The average price has risen 35 of the past 40 days, increasing 19.5 cents, including six-tenths of a cent Friday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 3.2 cents higher than one week ago, 13.4 cents more than one month ago and $1.271 greater than a year ago.

The average price has risen 98.5 cents since the start of the year, mainly because of a run of 82 increases in 84 days totaling 70.4 cents that ended March 30.

The large price increase from one year ago is the result of a significant decrease during the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic, when driving and demand dropped substantially because of stay-at-home orders intended to reduce the spread of the virus.

“Relaxation of pandemic restrictions is the biggest factor continuing to drive up prices,” said Jeffrey Spring, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s corporate communications manager.

“However, according to the latest California Energy Commission report, refineries are increasing both their production and inventories of California-blend gasoline, so the increases may soon be at an end.”

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