A collective sigh of relief is no doubt being felt by many California drivers as prices have started to drop in most metro areas across the state.
A collective sigh of relief is no doubt being felt by many California drivers as prices have started to drop in most metro areas across the state. Every metro area in Northern California tracked by AAA Insurance as a service to consumers saw a drop in its average price over the past month.
The Golden State’s average for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $4.26, down 10 cents since last month’s AAA report on March 13. For perspective, that’s 10 cents higher 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 second.
Northern California gas prices are now averaging $4.23, down 10 cents from last month. In the San Francisco Bay Area, motorists can expect to pay an average price of $4.35, which is a six-cent decrease. The national average price of $3.92 is up by 11 cents, which is 15 cents more than the national price on this date last year, when it was $3.77.
“Crude oil prices are declining as weak U.S. jobs data and reports that Iran might be open to compromise on its nuclear enrichment program both put downward pressure on oil prices,” said AAA Insurance spokesperson Matt Skryja. “These types of factors impact oil prices, and therefore gas prices, because investors’ buying activity continues to be the dominant influence on prices. Investors look for any real, or perceived, impacts to supply and demand. This evaluation of factors is done on a global stage, given that oil is traded internationally.”
A slowing economy would be expected to consume less crude oil, which pressures prices lower. Additionally, geopolitical tensions with Iran, and the associated fear of a disruption to global supply, have kept upward pressure on oil prices since December. That has recently reversed course a bit. Investors would typically expect that any easing of this tension, and removal of some of the “risk premium” in the market, would likely send prices lower.
The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Ukiah where regular is $4.07 per gallon. Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka has the highest average price at $4.50. This is also the highest price in the lower 48 states. The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Casper, Wyoming. The average price of gas in that metro area is $3.45. Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the dubious crown for the highest average price in the nation, at $4.85 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. ■