Auto Club: International Turmoil, Panic Pricing Pushes Gas Prices To 19-Month High

Monthly Fuel Prices Report

(LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11) — Industry fear and speculation concerning war with Iraq and the possibility of another terrorist strike on the United States continue to push average retail gasoline prices to levels not seen since July 2001, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's monthly Fuel Gauge Report.

The Southern California average price for regular self-serve unleaded gasoline is $1.725, up more than 11 cents from the Jan. 14 average of $1.611. The lowest average price in the region can be found in Ridgecrest, where drivers can pump regular self-serve unleaded gasoline for $1.631. San Francisco Bay-area motorists now pay an average of $1.86, up 14 cents from last month.

Nationally, the average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline rose nearly 14 cents to $1.605. Georgia has the lowest state average at $1.485, about 13 cents higher than last month.

"Prices are moving higher than supply and demand warrant," said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp. "We believe that this is in part a panicked response by wholesalers and retailers to as-yet undetermined oil supply shortfalls due to an as-yet unannounced war. We expected some increase due to the ongoing strike in Venezuela and higher demand for heating oil brought on by colder temperatures in the northern states, but not on this level."

To cushion family budgets, consumers are urged to shop aggressively for the best price on gasoline, look for ways to limit their gasoline consumption and keep their vehicles properly maintained to increase fuel economy, Thorp added.

In Southern California, the averages for regular and premium grades of gasoline are listed below:

County

Reg

Pre

Imperial County
EL CENTRO

1.767

1.982

Inyo County
BISHOP

1.859

1.978

Kern County
BAKERSFIELD

1.655

1.845

RIDGECREST

1.631

1.823

ALHAMBRA

1.662

1.882

ARCADIA

1.720

1.939

BURBANK

1.697

1.889

CULVER CITY

1.767

1.979

GLENDALE

1.685

1.866

GLENDORA

1.709

1.899

INGLEWOOD

1.718

1.899

LANCASTER

1.679

1.899

LONG BEACH

1.721

1.910

LOS ANGELES

1.721

1.933

MANHATTAN BEACH

1.727

1.939

MONTEBELLO

1.713

1.842

SANTA CLARITA

1.764

1.959

SANTA MONICA

1.785

1.966

VAN NUYS

1.664

1.785

WHITTIER

1.695

1.902

WOODLAND HILLS

1.703

1.931

Orange County
ANAHEIM

1.671

1.851

FULLERTON

1.698

1.864

HUNTINGTON BEACH

1.707

1.919

LA HABRA

1.679

1.859

LAGUNA BEACH

1.854

1.998

NEWPORT BEACH

1.803

1.974

SAN CLEMENTE

1.775

1.986

Riverside County
BLYTHE

1.908

2.079

HEMET

1.680

1.899

PALM SPRINGS

1.771

1.959

RIVERSIDE

1.685

1.829

San Bernardino County
REDLANDS

1.684

1.887

SAN BERNARDINO

1.701

1.911

VICTORVILLE

1.667

1.864

San Diego County
CHULA VISTA

1.748

1.969

DEL MAR

1.772

1.959

ESCONDIDO

1.729

1.907

OCEANSIDE

1.775

1.989

SAN DIEGO

1.765

1.956

San Luis Obispo County
SAN LUIS OBISPO

1.698

1.879

LOMPOC

1.725

1.919

SANTA BARBARA

1.805

2.059

SANTA MARIA

1.732

1.923

Tulare County
PORTERVILLE

1.637

1.839

VISALIA

1.664

1.892

Ventura County
VENTURA

1.711

1.924

So. Calif. Avg.

1.725

1.918

The Auto Club�s Fuel Gauge Report is based on data gathered from monitoring fuel transactions at 2,800 Southern California gas stations. Oil Price Information Service — the nation�s most comprehensive source of petroleum pricing information, provides the data.

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest affiliate of the AAA, has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club�s members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing, buying and financing programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club�s Web site at www.aaa-calif.com.

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