Most areas of Southern California are beginning to see significant price drops at the pump after a state agency announced it would allow early sales of ‘winter blend’ gasoline that is cheaper to produce, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.93, which is 10 cents lower than a week ago. The average national price is $3.77, which is seven cents lower than a week ago.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.15 per gallon, which is 14 cents lower than last week, 75 cents higher than last month, and 34 cents lower than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $6.12, which is nine cents lower than last week, 72 cents higher than last month, and 32 cents lower than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $6.05, which is 10 cents lower than last week, 72 cents higher than last month, and 34 cents lower than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.98, which is 14 cents lower than last week, 69 cents higher than last month and 39 cents lower than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.85 average price is two cents lower than last week, 64 cents higher than last month, and 47 cents lower than a year ago today.
Gas prices spiked in September to more than $6 a gallon because planned and unplanned maintenance at Southern California refineries resulted in a shortage of ‘summer blend’ gasoline, which is required to be sold until Oct. 31 due to air quality regulations. Late last week, the California Air Resources Board announced it would lift the regulations and allow the early sale of ‘winter blend’ gasoline immediately, which is bringing down prices quickly.
“Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices today plunged to their lowest levels since early May, when pump prices were averaging $4.70 to $4.80 a gallon,” said Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe. “In most areas of Southern California today, it should be easy to find gas prices less than $5.70 a gallon, and a few stations are charging less than $5 a gallon.”
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 Oct. 5, averages are: