By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — What pandemic? Gas prices have recovered from the COVID-19 slowdown and then some, and are now at a nine-year high.

The average price of a gallon of regular gas in Los Angeles County is now $4.57 a gallon – a price hike not seen since October of 2012.

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Gas prices across Southern California have been on a steady rise ever since October of 2020, when most COVID restrictions began to ease.

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Drivers in Los Angeles County have seen gas prices go up 13 cents over the past 16 days, according to the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. That includes a 4.3 cent price hike from just a week ago, and nearly 16 cents more than a month ago. This time last year, that same price was $1.394 cheaper.

Indeed, gas prices are up across the state and the country. CBS News National Correspondent David Begnaud posted a picture of how much he paid to top off a rented Ford Expedition in Oakland.

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High crude oil prices are driving the increase in fuel costs, with a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange now priced at $84.65 – the highest value it’s reached since Oct. 13, 2014. In fact, crude oil prices have skyrocketed 136.52% since last year, thanks to pent-up demand after coronavirus-related restrictions eased.