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Davis, California

Thursday, December 9, 2021

AAA survey says gas prices will level off

The average California gas price is much lower than the record numbers of last year.

In June 2008, unleaded gas reached up to $4.61 per gallon on average, according to AAAs Daily Fuel Gauge Report website.

Gas prices were back on the rise this summer but never reached $4 per gallon.

Experts say gas prices in California may have “plateaued. The current California average unleaded gas per gallon is $3.13, a slight drop from the $3.16 average a week ago.

The Sacramento metro areas average is slightly lower than the rest of the states at about $3.09 per gallon, down from $3.15 a week ago.

Because there were many maintenance issues at refineries, such as plants in Martinez, gas prices have probably been higher than they would be otherwise, said Matt Skryja, AAA spokesperson.

The current national average cost of $2.51 per gallon is much lower than the California numbers. There are places such as Missouri, where the average cost is $2.22.

Southern states such as Georgia and Mississippi also tend to have prices in the mid to low $2 range.

In California, less access to gas translates into higher prices.

Prices in California have been more expensive because of requirements for additives in gasoline and gas taxes. Since California gets most of its gas from state refineries only, the maintenance issues have more of an effect on the state because there are no other sources of gasoline coming in.

Uncertainty about trends in gas usage remains, however.

According to a monthly survey from Northern California AAA released on Aug. 31, gas consumption has increased by 0.6 percent from a year ago. This rise started in May of 2009, coinciding with Memorial Day weekend.

Locally, many believe the California trend holds true.

“Our store is doing well, said Manuel Sangh, Daviss Arco gas station attendant. “Were still busy with business.

The numbers, however, do not always speak for themselves.

“There is actually an overall decrease in usage, said Skryja. “There are ups and downs from week to week and these studies are basically a snapshot of a snapshot of a snapshot.

The decline of gas usage over the past three years was so great that a slight increase this year was not unusual, said State Board of Equalization – the states elected tax commission – Spokesperson Anita Gore.

A move toward more economic and efficient cars, as well as using more public transit contributed to less consumption of gas.

In a weekly BOE gas consumption study, Board Chair Betty T. Yee expressed reasons why there is probably low gas consumption.

“Were in an uncertain time, said Yee. “While more fuel efficient cars and trucks are increasing fuel economy – and in light of some of the recently improved economic statistics – consumers remain cautious in their spending as the economy continues toward an uncertain recovery.

Gore pointed to diesel fuel use as a greater economic indicator than gasoline.

“Diesel fuel is used for trucking of large appliances and other items, Gore said. “There are less goods being transported when there is less economic growth.

Diesel use declined by 7 percent, according to the study.

Differences between diesel and gas growth could also be in part due to the fact that Labor Day weekend – the time when gas consumption was said to rise – is a large time for travel and thus more gas consumed for this, Gore said.

Skryja said diesel is a good indicator of the economy on a global scale. He says that this is not necessarily true for the U.S. because it is more of a gas-based country.

“Prices most likely wont spike either if the economy improves or gets worse, said Skryja.


ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached city@theaggie.org.


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