Gas prices in Southern California are rising toward $4 a gallon

Gasoline prices are climbing toward $4 a gallon in Southern California, boosted in large part by a rise in worldwide crude oil prices.

The average pump price for regular gas in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area stood at $3.736 a gallon Thursday, up nearly 60 cents, or 19%, from a year earlier, according to the American Automobile Assn.

Prices for midgrade and premium blends have climbed to $4 or more a gallon at certain stations in the area.

The average regular price for all of California stood at $3.683 a gallon, up 18% from $3.114 a year earlier, the AAA said. It’s still well below the state’s record high of $4.671, set in October 2012.

Part of the increase in the last year reflects a 12-cent increase in California’s fuel excise tax that went into effect in November, bringing that state tax to 41.7 cents a gallon.

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