By Rachel Wulff

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California’s gas prices have hit a five-year high. This on top of the fact that our gas prices are already $1.30 -$1.50 more per gallon than in other states.

So why are we so much higher and what’s caused this recent spike?

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We’re all grumbling about the nation’s highest gas tax, but experts say it’s more than that when you look at the pain at the pump.

Patrick Dehaan, the GasBuddy guy, is an expert on gas prices.

“The problem now is four refineries in the last week have had unexpected outages,” Dehaan said.

Four of the 15 refineries in California are undergoing maintenance. Dehaan says it’s usually it’s only one or two at a time. Combine that with high taxes and a carbon tax, and that’s why California gas has jumped to over $4.00 a gallon.

Attacks on major oil fields in Saudi Arabia last month have also played a factor. Saudi Arabia supplies about 20% of the oil needs the Golden State needs for refiners.

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So why can’t California simply ship in more gas? James Allison with the California Fuels and Convenience Alliance, which represents the state’s fuel marketers, says California has its own special blend with higher emissions standards, making it difficult.

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“We’re prevented from importing gasoline that doesn’t meet our state’s strict standards, which really could provide assistance in times like this. that’s sometimes why we are referred to as a fuel island here in California,” said Allison.

So when will gas prices go down? Experts say 200,000 barrels arrived this week.

“So over the last 48 hours, the price of wholesale gas has started to plummet. It will take several more days before prices drop,” said Dehaan.

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Just don’t expect to see prices like in other states. Industry leaders say as long as California policies continue to drive up the cost, consumers will still feel the pain at the pump.

And why is gas so much cheaper when you cross that state line in Nevada? You don’t have the same emissions standards and they do not have a carbon fuel tax at this point.

Willie Torres said, “It’s like it’s ridiculous. I thought I’d move from New York to here and it would be lower. But it’s almost the same thing.”

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So, we may see a day or two more of increases, but by the weekend it will stabilize. And next week it’s predicted to go down.