Auto Club: Gas Prices Up From Last Month, But Past Peak And Heading Down

Monthly Fuel Prices Report

Lower Demand, Increased Imports and Structural Repairs Nudge Prices Down

(LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 2003) — The average price of gasoline in Southern California remains above $2 a gallon, despite lower demand, increased imports from Europe and recent refinery and pipeline repairs, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's monthly Fuel Gauge Report. While prices have begun to drop, gasoline still costs more than it did a month ago.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Southern California is still 37.7 cents higher than last month, according to the Auto Club, but most cities have seen price reductions of 5-6 cents per gallon since Labor Day.

The Southern California average price for regular self-serve unleaded gasoline is $2.104, up from $1.727 on Aug. 12. Prices in most Southern California cities are up significantly compared to last month, but down compared to last week.

The lowest average price in Southern California is Anaheim, where drivers can pump regular self-serve unleaded gasoline for an average $2.025. Statewide, the lowest price is in Fresno at $1.99, and the highest is in Oakland at $2.22. San Francisco Bay-area motorists now pay an average of $2.14, up 29 cents from August. Nationally, prices are up 11.7 cents since the August AAA survey and now average $1.687 per gallon.

"This year we've seen the 'twin peaks' in retail gasoline pricing, with two significant price spikes within six months," said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp. "Prices should continue to go down now, with seasonal summer demand abated and regional refinery and pipeline problems repaired."

Thorp added that foreign imports have increased, because foreign refiners can produce California's winter formulation easier than the more complex summer formulation. Also, crude and wholesale prices have dropped significantly in recent days, and that should translate into larger price drops at the pump than we've seen, she said. "However, over the long term, as long as inventories remain tight and production capacity is not increased, the market is still susceptible to wide swings in pricing," she noted.

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

County And City 9/16 Unl. 8/12 Unl 9/16 Pre 8/12 Pre
Imperial County
El Centro 2.178 1.798 2.339 1.979
Inyo County
Bishop 2.200 1.883 2.409 2.079
Kern County
Bakersfield 2.057 1.723 2.218 1.960
Ridgecrest 2.121 1.794 2.294 1.962
Los Angeles County
Alhambra 2.073 1.678 2.239 1.881
Arcadia 2.088 1.682 2.299 1.902
Burbank 2.052 1.675 2.229 1.879
Culver City 2.150 1.772 2.327 1.969
Glendale 2.060 1.693 2.359 1.899
Glendora 2.061 1.691 2.254 1.881
Inglewood 2.076 1.706 2.277 1.902
Lancaster 2.036 1.673 2.213 1.849
Long Beach 2.107 1.729 2.301 1.911
Los Angeles 2.099 1.718 2.298 1.917
Manhattan Beach 2.146 1.782 2.329 1.899
Montebello 2.092 1.700 2.269 1.939
Santa Clarita 2.076 1.649 2.236 1.799
Santa Monica 2.122 1.734 2.279 1.979
Van Nuys 2.031 1.671 2.232 1.862
Whittier 2.070 1.726 2.259 1.866
Woodland Hills 2.047 1.661 2.289 1.879
Orange County
Anaheim 2.025 1.634 2.231 1.861
Fullerton 2.043 1.651 2.256 1.779
Huntington Beach 2.050 1.676 2.224 1.944
La Habra 2.052 1.616 2.234 1.799
Laguna Beach 2.145 1.759 2.299 1.967
Newport Beach 2.139 1.757 2.324 1.899
San Clemente 2.157 1.754 2.414 1.909
Tustin 2.090 1.689 2.287 1.947
Riverside County
Blythe 2.246 1.929 2.379 2.099
Hemet 2.059 1.670 2.279 1.928
Palm Springs 2.155 1.788 2.399 2.019
Riverside 2.076 1.687 2.235 1.857
San Bernardino County
Redlands 2.139 1.714 2.316 1.937
San Bernardino 2.127 1.693 2.259 1.897
Victorville 2.115 1.677 2.247 1.879
Chula Vista 2.138 1.735 2.372 1.909
Del Mar 2.132 1.742 2.289 1.979
Escondido 2.033 1.685 2.241 1.879
Oceanside 2.081 1.761 2.307 1.989
San Diego 2.138 1.759 2.366 1.967
San Luis Obispo County
San Luis Obispo 2.168 1.770 2.379 2.003
Santa Barbara County
Lompoc 2.203 1.803 2.399 2.114
Santa Barbara 2.176 1.777 2.346 1.946
Santa Maria 2.173 1.774 2.341 1.937
Tulare County
Porterville 2.050 1.808 2.238 1.999
Visalia 2.034 1.761 2.229 1.939
Ventura County
Ventura 2.107 1.712 2.323 1.914
So. Calif. Avg. 2.104 1.727 2.296 1.927

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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