If you feel like gasoline prices are rising on a daily basis, there's a good reason.
The California State Automobile Association released its monthly gas price survey Tuesday.
It shows the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular in Northern California has risen to $4.17, a 27¢ leap from a month ago.
"I don't drive enough to pay too close attention," said Alamedan Matt Narensky, who says he carpools to work. "But whenever I do fill up, it surprises me how much it costs."
In the East Bay, the average price has jumped to $4.24, a 28¢ hike from a month ago. That's also a 16¢ increase from one week ago... an average of more than 2¢ a day.
"I've noticed it," said Debbie Uchida. "And I'm trying not to drive as much. I'm combining errands and not doing little short jaunts everywhere."
In Alameda, at the Webster Street , a gallon of unleaded was selling for $4.25 a gallon. At the on Harbor Bay, gas was also selling for $4.25.
A year ago, the average price in the East Bay was $3.10.
The rise has occurred despite the fact the demand for gasoline has decreased across the United States the past couple weeks.
Officials at AAA say the weak U. S. dollar as well as unrest in Libya, Syria, Yemen and other Middle East countries is helping fuel the rise.
However, they say the biggest cause is speculators on the commodities market.
"Investors continue to be the largest force driving the market price for oil," said Matt Skryja, an AAA Northern California spokesman. "Instability in the Middle East and North Africa still has them concerned about the world's supply of crude, which has helped keep oil prices on the rise."
Jay McKeeman, the vice president of government relations for the California Independent Oil Marketers Association, agrees.
He also blames speculators for the high price of gasoline.
"It's all because of the price of crude. As crude prices rise, the price of gas rises," McKeeman said.
Sean Comey, a spokesman for Chevron Corporation, said about two-thirds of the cost of gasoline comes from the price of crude oil. He added most of the rest of the price is due to federal, state and sales taxes.
Some critics contend oil companies should accept a smaller profit margin during these economic times. However, Comey said Chevron reinvests its earnings into exploring and developing new sources of oil and natural gas as well as producing alternative energy such as geothermal power.
He noted Chevron earned $19 billion in 2010, but it spent $22 billion on energy exploration and development. The company plans to spend $26 billion this year in its capital and exploratory budget.