Increased gasoline stockpiles and refinery production levels are helping to push down Southern California gas prices below their record levels of near or over $6 a gallon reached last week, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.
The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.81, which is nine cents lower than last week. The average national price is $4.15, which is eight cents lower than a week ago and 18 cents lower than the record price of $4.33 reached on March 11.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $5.92 per gallon, which is 12 cents lower than last week, 49 cents higher than last month, and $1.95 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.88, which is 11 cents lower than last week, 50 cents higher than last month, and $1.91 higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.89, which is eight cents lower than last week, 60 cents higher than last month and $1.97 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.84, which is 11 cents lower than last week, 54 cents higher than last month and $1.94 higher than last year. In Bakersfield, the $5.84 average price is four cents less than last Thursday, 66 cents higher than last month and $2.01 higher than a year ago today.
“Despite reports of flaring and delayed restarts at two local refineries, the Energy Information Administration is reporting that refinery utilization rates on the West Coast are at more than 90 percent, which is a seven-month high point,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe. “This has allowed gasoline stockpiles to surge by a million barrels over the previous week, although Oil Price Information Service reports the stockpile level is still below normal levels for this time of year.”
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.
- Look into carpooling if you commute a significant distance. Carpooling with one other person cuts commute costs in half, and you can cut your commute costs by two-thirds by carpooling with two other people.
- 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 April 7, averages are: