Gas Still Climbing As Summer Approaches

State Average at $4.17 Per Gallon; Up 26 Cents from Last Month, Says AAA


Media Contact: Matt Skryja

Walnut Creek, April 12, 2011

Even in the face of eroding demand for gasoline nationwide, all of the metro areas tracked by AAA Northern California have climbed past the $4 per gallon mark for regular, unleaded. California now has the second highest state average gas price among all 50 states.

According to AAA, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers, every Northern California metro area tracked by the organization saw an increase of at least 24 cents at the pump over the past month. The Golden State’s average for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $4.17, up 26 cents since last month’s report on March 8. For perspective, that’s $1.06 higher than California’s average price on this date last year.

Northern California gas prices are now averaging $4.17, up 27 cents from last month. In the San Francisco Bay Area, motorists can expect to pay an average price of $4.22, which is a 26-cent increase. The national average price of $3.79 is up by 27 cents, which is 93 cents more than the national price on this date last year, when it was $2.86.

“Investors continue to be the largest force driving the market price for oil. Instability in the Middle East and North Africa still has them concerned about the world’s supply of crude, which has helped to keep oil prices on the rise,” explained AAA Northern California spokesperson Matt Skryja. “Domestically, weakness in the U.S. dollar has also contributed to rising crude prices. When the dollar weakens, investors, including those holding foreign currencies, are more likely to invest in U.S. commodities, including crude, which pressures the prices upward.”

For the second week in a row, demand for gasoline has dropped across the United States. However, this has not had a huge impact on prices at the pump, given the global nature of the crude oil market. With violence continuing in Libya, as well as concern about unrest in Syria and Yemen, crude oil prices saw sustained upward momentum throughout last week because of investors’ concern over impacts to the world’s supply. Investors are currently betting that oil prices will move higher. This was reflected by a huge jump recently in the amount of money going into crude oil futures. The current rate is about ten times the amount of speculative dollars that were in crude products on exchanges in 2003. This illustrates that speculation is currently one of the primary drivers of crude oil prices.

The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Marysville, where regular is $4.09. Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka’s average price of $4.34 is the highest. It’s also the highest price reported by AAA in the lower 48 states. The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Casper, Wyoming, where for the second consecutive month the average price of gas is $3.37. Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the dubious crown for the highest average price in the nation, at $4.76 per gallon.

One way consumers can reduce the amount of money they spend on fuel is to shop aggressively for the lowest price. AAA now offers text alerts via mobile phone for low gas prices in your area. Sign up today at www.aaa.com/gas.

AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report is the most comprehensive retail gasoline survey available, with over 100,000 self-serve stations surveyed everyday, nationwide. Data is provided in cooperation with OPIS Energy Group and Wright Express, LLC.

AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to nearly 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.

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