Auto Club: Gas Prices Continue Higher

Weekly Fuel Prices Report

Drop in Crude Oil Prices Expected To Be Mirrored at the Pump

(LOS ANGELES, January 30, 2004) — The retail price of gasoline increased last week throughout Southern California on the strength of crude oil futures that had been trading near $36/barrel. But a decline to about $32/barrel likely will be reflected at the gas pump by next week, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch. The national average for gasoline increased by 2.9 cents per gallon.

Currently, the average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $1.778, which is 3.8 cents higher than last week. This price is 15 cents higher than last month and 13 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the price is $1.796, which is 3.5 cents above last week's level, 14 cents above last month and 9 cents higher than last year. Motorists in the central coast pay an average price of $1.868, which is 3.8 cents higher than last week's price, 11 cents above last month and 17 cents higher than last year.

"Speculation in oil futures is the primary cause of last week's price increase at the gas pump," said Carol Thorp, Auto Club spokesperson. "Demand for gasoline remains stable and there is ample supply. That's a combination that generally leads to lower prices. But within a couple of weeks, refineries in California will begin preparing for the annual switch to summer-grade gasoline. That is expected to begin a cycle of price increases that could last for a couple of months."

The national average price of gasoline increased 1.3 cents per gallon last week as demand for gas lessened and the nation's inventories began filling up. Over the next 2–3 weeks, gas prices are expected to stabilize or trend lower in some regions. By the beginning of February, gas prices are expected to begin increasing. Some regions may see steep upward trends lasting through the spring.

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. 30:

Local and Nearby Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
Los Angeles–Long Beach $1.778 +$0.038 $2.167 (3/22/03)
San Diego $1.796 +$0.035 $2.211 (3/20/03)
Santa Barbara–Santa Maria–Lompoc $1.868 +$0.038 $2.233 (8/27/03)
National Average $1.623 +$0.029 $1.737 (8/30/2003)
Other Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
New York $1.833 +$0.035 $1.968 (9/6/2003)
Washington, D.C. $1.672 +$0.037 $1.797 (5/16/2001)
Boston $1.662 +$0.036 $1.812 (9/3/2003)
Philadelphia $1.648 +$0.030 $1.807 (9/3/2003)
Atlanta $1.543 +$0.039 $1.589 (3/18/2003)
Miami $1.696 +$0.034 $1.761 (3/18/2003)
Chicago $1.742 +$0.050 $2.142 (6/19/2000)
Detroit $1.651 +$0.061 $2.137 (6/20/2000)
Kansas City, MO $1.476 -$0.013 $1.790 (6/21/2000)
St. Louis $1.632 +$0.066 $1.767 (5/17/2001)
Denver $1.519 +$0.044 $1.780 (6/5/2001)
Dallas $1.562 +$0.026 $1.666 (5/12/2001)
Houston $1.549 +$0.030 $1.639 (5/12/2001)
Salt Lake City $1.578 +$0.024 $1.789 (9/4/2003)
Las Vegas, NV $1.736 +$0.038 $2.063 (3/25/03)
Phoenix, AZ $1.598 +$0.036 $2.146 (8/26/03)
Seattle $1.698 +$0.016 $1.969 (9/4/2003)
San Francisco $1.898 +$0.034 $2.276 (3/19/2003)
Honolulu $2.000 +$0.008 $2.054 (10/2/2003)

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