(LOS ANGELES, March 5, 2004) Continuing a two week surge, gasoline prices throughout the Southwest leaped upward with new record high prices set nearly every day last week, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch. However, prices have begun to turn lower in San Diego, indicating that the price wave may have crested. The national average for gasoline increased 2.8 cents per gallon.
Currently, the average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $2.202, a new record high that is 6.9 cents higher than last week. This price is 40 cents higher than last month and 20 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the price is $2.211, which is off three-tenths of a cent from the record price set on March 3, but 5.4 cents above last week's level, 39 cents above last month and 17 cents higher than last year. Motorists in the central coast pay an average price of $2.270, which is a new record high that is 8.2 cents higher than last week's price, 38 cents above last month and 25 cents higher than last year.
"In the past week, the price of gasoline in the wholesale market declined by about 20 cents per gallon. Wholesale costs are now close to where they were two weeks ago before panic buying sent prices skyrocketing," said Carol Thorp, Auto Club spokesperson. "There is usually a 12 week lag between what happens in the wholesale market and what motorists pay at the retail pump. Even though prices are at record levels now, we expect that they will turn downward in the coming days."
The national average price of gasoline increased 2.8 cents per gallon last week. Many regions of the country will begin experiencing sharply higher prices in the next couple of weeks as refineries go through the turn-around from producing winter grade to summer grade fuel. This could push the national average price to a new record high within a week.
The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline at metropolitan destinations throughout the nation.
Average prices as of 12:01 a.m., March 5:
|Local and Nearby Areas||Regular||Change from last week||Record Price|
|Los AngelesLong Beach||$2.202||+6.9 cents||$2.202 (3/4/2004)|
|San Diego||$2.211||+5.4 cents||$2.211 (3/20/2003)|
|Santa BarbaraSanta MariaLompoc||$2.270||+8.2 cents||$2.233 (3/4/2004)|
|National Average||$1.709||+2.8 cents||$1.737 (8/30/2003)|
|Other Areas||Regular||Change from last week||Record Price|
|New York||$1.883||+2.9 cents||$1.968 (9/6/2003)|
|Washington, D.C.||$1.700||+1.2 cents||$1.797 (5/16/2001)|
|Boston||$1.705||+1.9 cents||$1.812 (9/3/2003)|
|Philadelphia||$1.717||+2.5 cents||$1.807 (9/3/2003)|
|Atlanta||$1.568||+0.1 cents||$1.589 (3/18/2003)|
|Miami||$1.749||+3.5 cents||$1.761 (3/18/2003)|
|Chicago||$1.788||+2.2 cents||$2.142 (6/19/2000)|
|Detroit||$1.690||+1.6 cents||$2.137 (6/20/2000)|
|Kansas City, MO||$1.586||+3.4 cents||$1.790 (6/21/2000)|
|St. Louis||$1.669||+4.9 cents||$1.767 (5/17/2001)|
|Denver||$1.586||+4.6 cents||$1.780 (6/5/2001)|
|Dallas||$1.605||+1.5 cents||$1.666 (5/12/2001)|
|Houston||$1.573||+1.7 cents||$1.639 (5/12/2001)|
|Salt Lake City||$1.698||+6.1 cents||$1.789 (9/4/2003)|
|Las Vegas, NV||$2.090||+7.9 cents||$2.093 (3/3/2004)|
|Phoenix, AZ||$1.988||+9.2 cents||$2.146 (8/26/2003)|
|Seattle||$1.818||+4.6 cents||$1.969 (9/4/2003)|
|San Francisco||$2.271||+8.3 cents||$2.276 (3/19/2003)|
|Honolulu||$2.021||+0.4 cents||$2.054 (10/2/2003)|