Six-Month Downward Gas Price Slide May Be Over

empty fuel gauge

Six months of nearly continuous gasoline price drops may be coming to an end as wholesale prices have jumped about 35 cents in the last two weeks, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch. The retail state average is $2.439 a gallon for regular today, 3.8 cents less than last week.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $2.461 per gallon, which is 3.6 cents less than last week, 22 cents less than last month, and $1.15 lower than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $2.425, which is 4.1 cents less than last week, 23 cents lower than last month, and $1.19 lower than last year. On the Central Coast, the average price is $2.492, 5.3 cents less than last week, 28 cents lower than a month ago, and $1.15 less than last year. In the Inland Empire, the average per-gallon price is $2.401, down 3.8 cents from last week, 23 cents less than last month, and $1.19 less than last year.

“Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices have jumped by 35 cents since Jan. 15, when they reached a six-year low point,” said Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring. “However, that does not necessarily mean local pump prices will immediately and quickly start rising, since right now there is a fairly large cushion between retail and wholesale prices. Also, depending on how much further oil prices drop, we could see wholesale prices reverse course again.”

Spring added that the wholesale price jump is not unexpected - it is a yearly occurrence as investors anticipate a tightening of supply from local refineries, which are performing maintenance on units as they prepare to switch from making the winter fuel blend to the summer blend. Air quality requirements mandate the switch for most Southern California gas stations to sell the summer fuel blend by April 1 to reduce air pollution in warmer temperatures.

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Jan. 29, averages are: 

 

Area

 Regular  

   One-week    

change

Record Price

Los Angeles – Long Beach

$2.461

   -3.6 cents

$4.705 (10/9/12)

 

 

 

 

Orange County

$2.433

-3.3 cents

$4.690 (10/8/12)

 

 

 

 

San Diego

$2.425

   -4.1 cents

$4.725 (10/8/12)

 

 

 

 

Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Lompoc

$2.492

 -5.3 cents

$4.709 (6/21/08)

 

 

 

 

Riverside – San Bernardino

$2.401

-3.8 cents

$4.688 (10/8/12)

Ventura

$2.440

 -3.4 cents

$4.689 (10/7/12)

 

 

 

 

Bakersfield

$2.511

-6.8 cents

$4.648 (10/9/12)