Pump prices in most Southern California areas are now a dime or more higher than at this time last year and the highest ever for the Labor Day weekend as many people hit the road for their final summer getaways, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.30, which is four cents higher than a week ago. The average national price is $3.83, which is one cent lower than a week ago.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $5.37 per gallon, which is one cent higher than last week, 28 cents higher than last month, and 11 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.37, which is two cents higher than last week, 31 cents higher than last month, and 14 cents higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.30, which is three cents higher than last week, 28 cents higher than last month, and ten cents lower than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.27, which is two cents higher than last week, 31 cents higher than last month and 12 cents higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.18 average price is two cents higher than last week, 25 cents higher than last month, and 15 cents lower than a year ago today.
“Gas prices are now backing off slightly in Southern California, but Los Angeles wholesale gas prices are still at their highest levels since November 2022 and will have to drop significantly to provide enough room for pump prices to drop below $5 a gallon,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “However, the Auto Club still expects an increase in Labor Day travel over last year because of a four percent increase in overall AAA Travel bookings and a 44 percent increase in international bookings compared to last year’s holiday weekend.”
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 Aug. 31, averages are: