Gas prices dip slightly
March 23, 2012
• Slight decline trails wholesale price drop
• ‘It may be a signal that prices have peaked early this year’
Gasoline prices in California are now about a penny or so less than they were a week ago, according to price surveys Friday.
The retail price is slowly creeping down following an earlier decline in wholesale gasoline prices.
“It’s a small decline, but we are seeing some impact at the pump from a reduction in wholesale gasoline prices,” says Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.
“This is the third week with relatively small price changes, so it may be a signal that prices have peaked early this year. However, spring typically is a volatile time for gas prices, and any incident relating to supply could make prices change direction.”
The record high price for a gallon of regular in California was reached on June 19, 2008 at $4.610.
Following are the Central Valley average prices for Friday, March 23, driving from south to north, as reported by the American Automobile Association, with last week’s (March 16) averages in parentheses and [March 9] prices in brackets:
• Bakersfield, $4.343 ($4.349) [$4.353]
• Visalia-Porterville, $4.322 ($4.328) [$4.333]
• Fresno, $4.293 ($4.305) [$4.298]
• Merced, $4.329 ($4.342) [$4.324]
• Modesto, $4.270 ($4.289) [$4.269]
• Stockton-Lodi, $4.264 ($4.282) [$4.259]
• Sacramento, $4.268 ($4.282) [$4.270]
• Yolo, $4.291 ($4.318) [$4.305]
• Yuba City, $4.217 ($4.240) [$4.250]
• Chico, $4.239 ($4.262) [$4.268]
The market average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area on March 23 is $4.378, which is 1.7 cents less than last week, the AAA says. In San Diego, it is $4.348, which is a drop of 2.5 cents in a week’s time, according to the AAA’s figures.
The state’s highest marketwide average price continues to be in Santa Barbara, where on March 23 it is $4.423. But that’s a decline is 1.9 cents in one week, the Triple A says.
Yuba City again has California’s lowest marketwide average price. On March 23 it is $4.217, down from $4.240 last week, according to the AAA.
A convenience store in Stockton may have California’s lowest price for a gallon of gas on March 23 -- $3.90, according to the website GasBuddy.com.
There are still just five places in California where you’ll pay $5 or more for a gallon of gas, according to the website GasBuddy.com. But one of them, near the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, still hopes to get $5.99 per gallon – the highest price in California on March 23.
Thermopolis, Wyo., home of America’s only Archaeopteryx fossil, has what might also be unique: The lowest price for gas in the country – a mere $3.19 found by a GasBuddy’s volunteer at two gas stations.
GasBuddy bases its figures on reports from volunteer “price spotters” reporting specific locations in the U.S. and Canada. They are not independently confirmed.
The AAA’s prices are market averages for self-serve regular grade (87 octane) gasoline. They are calculated daily from credit card purchases and compiled by the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.
Not every station is surveyed and not every market is included in either report. Both price surveys note that there can be wide variations within any market.
Gasoline prices throughout California are higher than the national average and usually among the highest in the nation. That is due in part to taxes and a state law mandating a special blend of fuel to reduce polluting emissions.