Auto Club: 2004 Begins With Higher Prices At The Gas Pump

Weekly Fuel Prices Report

National Average Jumps 4.2 Cents Higher

(LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9, 2004) — Ending a trend of five straight weeks of declines, the price of gasoline in Southern California rose sharply in the first week of 2004, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch. The national average for gasoline increased by 4.2 cents per gallon.

Currently, the average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $1.673, which is 4.7 cents higher than last week. This price is 4 cents lower than last month and 7 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the price is $1.697, which is 4.1 cents above last week's level, 3 cents below last month and 4 cents higher than last year. Motorists in the central coast pay an average price of $1.784, which is 3.7 cents higher than last week's price, 3 cents below last month and 11 cents higher than last year.

"Wholesale prices of gasoline are up due to nervousness among investors about refiners' ability to maintain supplies of the new ethanol blend of gasoline," said Carol Thorp, Auto Club spokesperson. "Consumer demand for gas remains flat, but compared to last year, supply is a bit lower. Prices could ease a few cents in the next couple of weeks. However, by the end of January, prices could begin a long, steep rise."

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline at metropolitan destinations throughout the nation. Average prices as of 12:01 a.m., Jan. 9:

Local and Nearby Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
Los Angeles–Long Beach $1.673 +$0.047 cents $2.167 (3/22/03)
San Diego $1.697 +$0.041 cents $2.211 (3/20/03)
Santa Barbara–Santa Maria–Lompoc $1.784 +$0.037 cents $2.233 (8/27/03)
National Average $1.526 +$0.042 $1.737 (8/30/2003)
Other Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
New York $1.752 +$0.008 $1.968 (9/6/2003)
Washington, D.C. $1.596 +$0.012 $1.797 (5/16/2001)
Boston $1.552 +$0.017 $1.812 (9/3/2003)
Philadelphia $1.540 +$0.007 $1.807 (9/3/2003)
Atlanta $1.418 +$0.065 $1.589 (3/18/2003)
Miami $1.565 +$0.055 $1.761 (3/18/2003)
Chicago $1.622 +$0.050 $2.142 (6/19/2000)
Detroit $1.530 +$0.058 $2.137 (6/20/2000)
Kansas City, MO $1.437 +$0.054 $1.790 (6/21/2000)
St. Louis $1.493 +$0.121 $1.767 (5/17/2001)
Denver $1.411 -$0.015 $1.780 (6/5/2001)
Dallas $1.455 +$0.033 $1.666 (5/12/2001)
Houston $1.436 +$0.045 $1.639 (5/12/2001)
Salt Lake City $1.493 -$0.008 $1.789 (9/4/2003)
Las Vegas, NV $1.634 +$0.019 $2.063 (3/25/03)
Phoenix, AZ $1.527 +$0.034 $2.146 (8/26/03)
Seattle $1.553 +$0.038 $1.969 (9/4/2003)
San Francisco $1.790 +$0.040 $2.276 (3/19/2003)
Honolulu $2.006 -$0.007 $2.054 (10/2/2003)

The national average price of regular gasoline jumped sharply last week, with most areas of the country registering significant increases. Nationally, the demand remains flat while supply is only slightly lower than at this time last year. The short-term outlook is for prices to ease downward by a couple of cents. Over the long-term, prices are expected to increase in the latter part of January and continue higher, possibly considerably, through the spring.

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