Gas price drops slowed to a trickle in Southern California over the last week as travelers finalize their plans for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday and the start of the summer travel season, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.79, which is two cents lower than last week. The average national price is $3.54, which is unchanged from a week ago.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.83 per gallon, which is two cents lower than last week, 12 cents lower than last month, and $1.26 lower than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.82, which is one cent less than last week, 12 cents lower than last month, and $1.20 lower than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.83, which is one cent lower than last week, nine cents lower than last month, and $1.21 lower than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.76, which is one cent lower than last week, 11 cents lower than last month and $1.22 lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.81 average price is two cents lower than last week, eight cents lower than last month, and $1.15 lower than a year ago today.
“The Auto Club projected this week that this Memorial Day weekend, travel by Southern Californians is expected to be slightly higher than it was in 2019 before the pandemic,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “If that trend holds for summer travel, we expect demand for gasoline to be higher. Local refineries have less gas production capacity than in prior years due to conversions to producing cleaner fuels such as biodiesel, which means that local supply may need more imports from other countries to meet demand.”
The Auto Club reminds drivers of the following tips to save money on gas:
- If you use premium unleaded fuel, make sure it is required for your vehicle, not just recommended. The Auto Club's Automotive Research Center found that vehicles with recommended premium fuel performed safely with regular unleaded gasoline.
- Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
- Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
- Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
- Slow down and drive the speed limit. Fuel economy peaks around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speed increases. Reducing freeway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.
- Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because you could lose control of the vehicle.
- Minimize your use of air conditioning.
- Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
- Remove unnecessary and heavy items from your car.
- Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
- Download the AAA App to find the cheapest gas prices near you.
The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on May 18, averages are: