California gas prices slowly trickling down

AAA says that despite a month-to-month increase, prices are falling
By: Staff Report
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AAA Monthly Gas Price Averages: March 12, 2013

City/Region       Price   Change               

NATIONAL           3.70      +  .10      

CALIFORNIA        4.17     +  .11      

N. CALIFORNIA   4.11      +  .16      

BAY AREA             4.23      +  .20      

SACRAMENTO     4.04      +  .15                                     


Despite the average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline rising 11 cents since last month to $4.17 a gallon, price increases are slowing in some areas around California.

Fuel prices this week are 19 cents higher than the state’s average price at this time last year, according to a release issued by AAA Northern California. In the Sacramento area, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is around $4.04, up 15 cents from last month’s survey by AAA.

“The recent, rising gas price bubble has burst, as prices are starting to trickle down following a series of jumps at the pump that lasted for weeks,” Robert Brown, AAA Northern California Public Affairs Director said in a statement. “This drop in prices is helped by a now completed switchover to summer-blend gasoline and the completion of refinery maintenance, which helped to push up prices.”

For Northern California the average price for a gallon of regular is around $4.11, a change of 16 cents in price from last month’s report. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has been hovering around $3.70 a gallon. This price is four cents more expensive than one week ago, 12 cents more than one month ago and 10 cents more than the average price one year ago, AAA said.

The least expensive average price in Northern California is in Modesto, Marysville, and Tracy where regular unleaded gasoline is $3.98 per gallon. Of all the metro areas in Northern California, where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka has the highest average price at $4.36. Among all 50 states, California has the second highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline. Hawaii is the highest at $4.40.

AAA says the recent spike in pump prices was a product of refinery maintenance and concerns, rather than more expensive crude oil. These refinery issues pressured both wholesale and futures prices higher for gasoline, while crude oil prices only increased slightly during the same period. The recent decline in the national average is partially due to cheaper crude oil but is more closely linked to sharply lower wholesale gasoline prices.