Auto Club: Stratospheric Gas Prices Resist Downward Pressure

Weekly Fuel Prices Report

(LOS ANGELES, March 12, 2004) — Retail gasoline prices remain stubbornly high throughout the Southwest despite three consecutive weeks of falling wholesale prices, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch. Unexpectedly high pump prices indicate that refiners continue to take profits. The national average for gasoline increased 1.9 cents per gallon and is less than a penny from the all-time high of 1.737 per gallon.

Currently, the average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline in the Los Angeles–Long Beach area is $2.192, which is one cent lower than last week. This price is 31 cents higher than last month and 12 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the price is $2.212, which is one-tenth of a cent higher than last week, 32 cents above last month and 9 cents higher than last year. Motorists in the central coast pay an average price of $2.260, which is one cent lower than last week, 29 cents above last month and 17 cents higher than last year. "Wholesale prices have declined 30 cents per gallon since hitting their high water mark on February 19," said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp. "Retail prices remain near $2.20 per gallon while gasoline refiners continue to gain high profit margins." The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline at metropolitan destinations throughout the nation.

The national average price of gasoline increased 1.9 cents per gallon last week. The current price of 1.728 is nine-tenths of a cent away from the all-time record high of 1.737 set on Aug. 30, 2003. While market conditions point to lower prices in the Southwest, the rest of the country can expect continuing higher prices in the coming weeks as refiners go through the turnaround process and begin switching from winter grade to summer grade fuel.

Average prices as of 12:01 a.m., March 12:

Local and Nearby Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
Los Angeles–Long Beach $2.192 -1.0 cents $2.202 (3/4/2004)
San Diego$2.212 +0.1 cents $2.217 (3/6/2004)
Santa Barbara–Santa Maria–Lompoc $2.260 -1.0 cents $2.276 (3/6/2004)
National Average $1.728 +1.9 cents $1.737 (8/30/2003)
Other Areas Regular Change from last week Record Price
New York $1.905 +2.2 cents $1.968 (9/6/2003)
Washington, D.C. $1.724 +2.4 cents $1.797 (5/16/2001)
Boston $1.725 +2.0 cents $1.812 (9/3/2003)
Philadelphia $1.738 +2.1 cents $1.807 (9/3/2003)
Atlanta $1.602 +3.4 cents $1.603 (3/10/2004)
Miami $1.776 +2.7 cents $1.761 (3/18/2003)
Chicago $1.784 -0.4 cents $2.142 (6/19/2000)
Detroit $1.693 +0.3 cents $2.137 (6/20/2000)
Kansas City, MO $1.604 +1.8 cents $1.790 (6/21/2000)
St. Louis $1.653 -1.6 cents $1.767 (5/17/2001)
Denver $1.666 +0.8 cents $1.780 (6/5/2001)
Dallas $1.617 +1.2 cents $1.666 (5/12/2001)
Houston $1.595 +2.2 cents $1.639 (5/12/2001)
Salt Lake City $1.759 +6.1 cents $1.789 (9/4/2003)
Las Vegas, NV $2.103 +1.3 cents $2.105 (3/6/2004)
Phoenix, AZ $1.976 -1.2 cents $2.146 (8/26/2003)
Seattle $1.842 +2.4 cents $1.969 (9/4/2003)
San Francisco $2.264 -0.7 cents $2.276 (3/19/2003)
Honolulu $2.025 +0.4 cents $2.054 (10/2/2003)

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