Gas Prices Continue Sharp Upward Trend

Weekly Fuel Prices Report

Relief May Be On the Horizon

(LOS ANGELES, January 16, 2004) — Reflecting rising wholesale prices for the first two weeks of 2004, gasoline prices at the retail pump continued higher across Southern California last week, rising 6.1 cents per gallon in the L.A.–Long Beach area. But a sharp decline in the wholesale market Thursday could point to lower prices next week, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch. The national average for gasoline increased by 5.5 cents per gallon last week.

Currently, the average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline in the Los Angeles–Long Beach area is $1.734, which is 6.1 cents higher than last week. This price is 5 cents higher than last month and 11 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the price is $1.735, which is 3.8 cents above last week's level, 3 cents above last month and 5 cents higher than last year.

Motorists in the central coast pay an average price of $1.825, which is 4.1 cents higher than last week's price, 4 cents above last month and 14 cents higher than last year. "The wholesale price of gasoline dipped by about 6 cents per gallon Thursday," said Carol Thorp, Auto Club spokesperson. "Barring any bounce in wholesale prices, the outlook for the next three weeks is for stable to declining retail prices."

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline at metropolitan destinations throughout the nation.

The national average price of gasoline jumped sharply for the second straight week, on twin reasons of higher crude oil prices and fears of refiners' ability to meet demand. However, gasoline inventories have been growing, principally in California and other western states. Increasing inventories helped send wholesale prices lower on Thursday. The short-term outlook is for retail prices to stabilize over the next week and begin moving lower over the next three weeks.

Average prices as of 12:01 a.m., Jan. 16:

Local and Nearby Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
Los Angeles–Long Beach $1.734 +$0.061 $2.167 (3/22/03)
San Diego $1.735 +$0.038 $2.211 (3/20/03)
Santa Barbara–Santa Maria–Lompoc $1.825 +$0.041 $2.233 (8/27/03)
National Average $1.581 +$0.055 $1.737 (8/30/2003)
Other Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
New York $1.779 +$0.027 $1.968 (9/6/2003)
Washington, D.C. $1.628 +$0.032 $1.797 (5/16/2001)
Boston $1.603 +$0.051 $1.812 (9/3/2003)
Philadelphia $1.584 +$0.044 $1.807 (9/3/2003)
Atlanta $1.508 +$0.090 $1.589 (3/18/2003)
Miami $1.644 +$0.079 $1.761 (3/18/2003)
Chicago $1.669 +$0.047 $2.142 (6/19/2000)
Detroit $1.592 +$0.062 $2.137 (6/20/2000)
Kansas City, MO $1.483 +$0.046 $1.790 (6/21/2000)
St. Louis $1.597 +$0.104 $1.767 (5/17/2001)
Denver $1.470 +$0.059 $1.780 (6/5/2001)
Dallas $1.513 +$0.058 $1.666 (5/12/2001)
Houston $1.499 +$0.063 $1.639 (5/12/2001)
Salt Lake City $1.541 +$0.048 $1.789 (9/4/2003)
Las Vegas, NV $1.676 +$0.042 $2.063 (3/25/03)
Phoenix, AZ $1.569 +$0.042 $2.146 (8/26/03)
Seattle $1.629 +$0.076 $1.969 (9/4/2003)
San Francisco $1.823 +$0.033 $2.276 (3/19/2003)
Honolulu $1.999 -$0.007 $2.054 (10/2/2003)

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