$3 gasoline returns to California

LOS ANGELES
February 17, 2017 3:45am
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•  Third week in a row of pump price increases

•  “However, wholesale gasoline prices have fallen slightly this week”


California’s gasoline prices have been increasing by about a penny a day over the last week on news of unplanned refinery maintenance, according to price surveys Friday. And the $3 per gallon threshold has been crossed in two markets.

“Chevron is reportedly performing unplanned maintenance at its refineries in El Segundo and Richmond, which has increased upward pressure on prices,” says Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

“However, wholesale gasoline prices have fallen slightly this week after reaching a 52-week high point, so it’s unclear how much higher local pump prices will rise at the moment,” he says.

California’s average price on Friday, February 17, is $2.894, according to AAA. That is 5.3 cents higher than last week’s average. The national average price is $2.285, up 1.8 cents from one week ago, the AAA says.

Today’s Regional Prices

Following are the Central Valley average prices for Friday, February 17, driving from south to north, as reported by the American Automobile Association, with last week’s (February 10) averages in parentheses and [February 3] prices in brackets:

• Bakersfield, $2.848 ($2.800) [$2.775]

• Visalia-Porterville, $2.776 ($2.735) [$2.722]

• Fresno, $2.812 ($2.765) [$2.756]

• Merced, $2.766 ($2.766) [$2.731]

• Modesto, $2.634 ($2.580) [$2.581]

• Stockton-Lodi, $2.702 ($2.644) [$2.634]

• Sacramento, $2.734 ($2.683) [$2.667]

• Yolo, $2.695 ($2.647) [$2.630]

• Yuba City, $2.672 ($2.581) [$2.572]

• Chico, $2.675 ($2.603) [$2.606]

According to AAA’s data, the market average price for self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area on February 17 is $2.985, up six cents since last Friday. In San Diego, the average price is $2.948, up 5.3 cents over the past seven days, the AAA says.

San Luis Obispo has the state’s highest average price for a gallon of gas. On February 17, SLO drivers are paying an average of $3.041, up 6.3 cents in a week. Right behind SLO in the three dollar race is San Francisco where the average works out to exactly that -- $3.000 per gallon, the AAA says.

For a second week, motorists in Modesto are filling up at the lowest average price in the state. The Modesto average on February 17 of $2.634 beats the next lowest – Yuba City’s $2.672 -- by 3.8 cents.

Chico’s Gas Station in South San Francisco still has the highest price for a gallon of gas in California. And it’s still the same as it’s been for four years: $5.039 per gallon, says the gasoline price comparison website GasBuddy.com, for which one of its volunteers did a drive-by price check on February 17 at 2:28 a.m.

Like last week and the week before that, the next highest price in the state is found at a Mobil station in Goleta, which wants $4.799 per gallon on February 17, according to GasBuddy.

California’s lowest price spotted on February 17 is $2.329, found at a convenience store in Ceres. That price is four cents higher than last week’s state low, which had been spotted by GasBuddy’s volunteers in Butte County.

The place to be for the lowest gasoline price is usually in the midst of a price war. That seems to have broken out in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where at least ten gas stations and convenience stores have whittled their prices down to $1.819 per gallon on February 17, according to GasBuddy.com.

That’s two cents higher than the apparent lowest price found last week, which was in Texas.

Methodologies

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 Wex Inc., formerly known as 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.


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