(Press Release) It’s a mixed bag out there. Although gas prices continue to fall in some parts of the Golden State, other areas have started to see a rise at the pump. According to the latest report from AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah Insurance Exchange, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers, every metro area in Northern California saw a double-digit drop in its average price over the past month.
California’s average for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $3.70, down 40 cents since last month’s AAA report on June 12th, while Fresno sat at $3.66 also down 40 cents. For perspective, that’s eight cents less than California’s average price on this date last year. Among all 50 states, California has the third highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline. Hawaii is first and Alaska is the second.
Northern California gas prices are now averaging $3.71, down 41 cents from last month. In the San Francisco Bay Area, motorists can expect to pay an average price of $3.86, which is a 38-cent decrease. The national average price of $3.38 is down by 16 cents, which is 25 cents less than the national price on this date last year, when it was $3.63.
“The recent drop at the pump was largely driven by lower crude oil prices around the globe. The decline is linked to a slew of concerns about global economic weakness, including worries about sovereign debt in Europe, signs of a slowing economy in China, and bearish economic data in the United States,” said AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah Insurance Exchange spokesperson Matt Skryja. “Investors typically pull back on their buying when there’s a weaker global economy because demand for crude oil is expected to drop. This puts downward pressure on prices.”
In the beginning of July, these concerns for global crude oil demand have taken a backseat to supply concerns, which has spurred a recent increase in oil prices. For example, the Iranian government responded to western sanctions on Iranian oil imports with military drills and reports that the country might interfere with oil distribution through the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-third of global seaborne oil is transported. The increased possibility of disruption to supply in the region puts upward pressure on prices. Also, worker strikes continued at the Statoil plant in Norway, which produces some 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day. With global supply already tight following sanctions on Iran, additional supply disruptions would be expected to put upward pressure on oil prices.
The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Marysville where regular is $3.54 per gallon. Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka has the highest average price at $3.98. This is also the highest price in the lower 48 states. The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina metro area. The average price of gas in that metro area is $2.98. Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the dubious crown for the highest average price in the nation, at $4.41 per gallon.
To get the best mileage possible, AAA recommends keeping tires at the proper pressure suggested by the vehicle manufacturer, performing routine maintenance and making sure fluids are clean and belts and hoses are in good repair. The way you drive can also impact fuel economy. Smooth driving to avoid sudden stops and starts, planning errands and lightening your load also help conserve gasoline.