Southern California gas prices rose by double digits in some places over the past week as they began reflecting recent increases in wholesale prices, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.63, which is six cents higher than last week. The average national price is $3.44, which is six cents lower than a week ago.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.67 per gallon, which is 10 cents higher than last week, 16 cents higher than last month, and eight cents lower than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.67, which is eight cents higher than last week, 12 cents higher than last month, and two cents lower than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.61, which is 10 cents higher than last week, 13 cents higher than last month, and six cents lower than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.53, which is nine cents higher than last week, 15 cents higher than last month and 12 cents lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.61 average price is five cents higher than last week, 11 cents higher than last month, and two cents higher than a year ago today.
“Last Friday, Oil Price Information Service stated that California refineries have reported higher-than-usual planned maintenance as well as unplanned outages in recent weeks, yet gasoline inventories have apparently risen at the same time, indicating possible slower demand,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. "This week's pump price increases appear to be mainly related to the refineries switching to summer-blend fuel, which pushed up wholesale prices since it is more expensive to produce."
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 Feb. 9, averages are: