Auto Club: Inland Empire Average Price Tops $3 Per Gallon

(COSTA MESA, April 18, 2006) — The average price of a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline rose above $3 per gallon overnight in the Riverside/San Bernardino area, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. The average price is $3.012, up from $2.985 yesterday. The all-time record high price is $3.030 set Sept. 9, 2005.

"No one knows for how long prices will rise or where they will peak," said Auto Club spokesman Paul Gonzales. "Price of gas on the spot and wholesale markets have risen rapidly in recent weeks and retail prices still may need a couple of weeks to catch up."

Nationally, demand for gasoline is higher and production is lower, compared to this time in 2005. The combination of high demand and limited supply is a classic marketplace condition for higher prices.

"Consumers can save on gas by carpooling to work. Sharing your car with one other person can reduce your expenses by as much as 50 percent," Gonzales said. "Motorists also can save by changing the way they drive their cars. People who stomp on the accelerator when the light turns green, then jam on the brake pedal when traffic slows down waste a lot of gas. You can save 10-15 percent in fuel efficiency by driving within the speed limit, leaving a stop more slowly and reducing speed more gradually in traffic."

The Auto Club offers these recommendations to help save on gas:

  • Plan ahead. Make a list of everywhere you need to go and arrange your route to save miles.

  • Use an efficient vehicle. Two-car families can save money by using the one vehicle that gets the best fuel efficiency.

  • Check your tire pressure. Under-inflated tires can cut fuel economy by up to 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.

  • Clean the junk out of the trunk. Some people carry hundreds of pounds of unnecessary items in their trunk. The more weight the car carries, the harder the engine has to work and the fewer miles per gallon you will get.

  • Shop aggressively for the lowest prices. You can save by paying attention to the prices of stations along your route. But don't go too far out of your way to save a few cents on gasoline, because you'll waste more money than you save. Shopping around encourages retailers to be more competitive.

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