Southern California gas prices rose at the third-fastest rate ever recorded for a one-week jump, but backed down slightly today after several days of wholesale price drops, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.79, which is 28 cents higher than a week ago. The average national price is $3.87, which is one cent higher than a week ago.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.06 per gallon, which is 44 cents higher than last week, 71 cents higher than last month, and 51 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.99, which is 39 cents higher than last week, 66 cents higher than last month, and 51 cents higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.92, which is 39 cents higher than last week, 65 cents higher than last month, and 43 cents higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.89, which is 39 cents higher than last week, 65 cents higher than last month and 49 cents higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.72 average price is 34 cents higher than last week, 57 cents higher than last month, and 29 cents higher than a year ago today.
“Refinery production and imports have improved the Southern California fuel supply situation, causing wholesale prices to drop for the last few days,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “According to Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), the PBF Energy refinery in Torrance and the Wilmington portion of the Phillips 66 refinery have both started multi-week planned maintenance projects this week. However, OPIS analysts say large shipments of imported gasoline are expected to arrive on the West Coast in the coming days, which will likely offset the upward pressure on pump prices caused by the refinery maintenance.”
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 Sept. 21, averages are: