California gasoline prices beginning to inch down

December 1, 2017 4:32am
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•  But the downward trend is not offsetting the state’s tax hike

•  “That’s unlikely to happen before the end of 2017”

The prices California drivers are paying for gasoline are beginning to inch down ever so slightly, according to price surveys Friday.

“Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices continue to leave some room for further price drops at local stations, although oil prices are still trading near a two-year high of almost $60 a barrel,” says Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

In addition to higher oil prices, Californians were slammed with a 12-cents per gallon tax hike on November 1.

“To get to the prices that …motorists were paying on Halloween, we would have to see the average drop by about 15 more cents a gallon in most areas. That’s unlikely to happen before the end of 2017 if prices continue dropping this slowly,” Mr. Spring says.

The national average price for a gallon of gas on December 1 is $2.490, down 2.8 cents since last Friday. California’s average price is currently $3.176, down two cents from seven days ago, AAA says.

Today’s Regional Prices

Following are the Central Valley average prices for Friday, December 1, driving from south to north, as reported by the American Automobile Association, with last week’s (November 24) averages in parentheses and [November 17] prices in brackets:

• Bakersfield, $3.205 ($3.232) [$3.215]

• Visalia-Porterville, $3.177 ($3.176) [$3.198]

• Fresno, $3.164 ($3.184) [$3.199]

• Merced, $3.126 ($3.133) [$3.150]

• Modesto, $2.994 ($3.010) [$3.023]

• Stockton-Lodi, $3.044 ($3.069) [$3.078]

• Sacramento, $3.060 ($3.076) [$3.090]

• Yolo, $3.001 ($3.032) [$3.051]

• Yuba City, $2.957 ($2.986) [$2.992]

• Chico, $2.959 ($2.986) [$3.021]

The market average price for self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area on December 1 is $3.215, down 2.6 cents since last Friday. In San Diego, the average price is $3.190, down 2.3 cents over the past seven days, the AAA says.

California’s highest average price on December 1 is -- no surprise -- in San Luis Obispo, where it’s $3.307, a drop of 1.1 cents cents over the past week, according to AAA’s data. SLO is just three-tenths of a cent higher than the average in San Francisco. However, remote Trinity County, one of the state’s least populated areas, has an average price for a gallon of gas on December 1 of just over $3.70, the Auto Club says.

Yuba City has regained its customary title of having the state’s lowest average price. On December 1 it is $2.957, down 2.9 cents in a week. It is two-tenths of a cent less than this week’s average in neighboring Chico, the AAA data show.

California’s lowest reported price for a gallon of gas on December 1 $2.519 per gallon -- cash, not credit -- at an independent in Chowchilla, according to the price comparison website That’s 11 cents less than the lowest price its volunteers reported last week.

What might be the nation’s lowest price for a gallon of gas found on December 1 by GasBuddy’s army of price spotters is $1.939. While that is 14 cents more than what was found a week ago, at least this week’s price has been spotted at two locations in Katy, Texas, and three in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, says GasBuddy.


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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