After months of volatility in California gas prices, the Golden State is now experiencing a drop in the price of gas. According to the latest report from AAA Northern California, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers, every metro area in Northern California saw a decrease of at least 69 cents over the past month.
California’s average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.85, down eighty-two cents since last month’s AAA report on October 9. For perspective, gas prices today are 2 cents more than California’s average price on this date last year. Among all 50 states, California has the highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline. Hawaii is the second at $4.41.
Northern California gas prices are now averaging $3.82, down 81 cents from last month. In the San Francisco Bay Area, motorists can expect to pay an average price of $3.98, which is a 76-cent decrease from last month. The California state average price of $3.85 is down two cents, which is 41 cents more than the national price of unleaded regular gasoline, $3.44.
“Lower crude oil prices, the seasonal switch from summer to winter blend, and reduced demand have added to the recent downward pressure on retail gasoline prices,” says AAA Northern spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “With continued signs of global economic weakness and a somewhat stronger U.S. dollar, crude oil prices have continued to move lower.”
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, power outages in New York and New Jersey left many stations unable to operate pumps, despite gasoline in their storage tanks. Even as power was restored to some stations, others with electricity ran out of fuel to sell because of distribution issues from closed petroleum terminals and infrastructure damage. As petroleum terminals return to service, there will be plenty of gasoline ready to transfer to stations. Once this happens, AAA expects pump prices to drop in affected areas following the trend of the rest of the country.
AAA predicts that the national average price will be $3.25-$3.40 by Thanksgiving and $3.10-$3.30 by the end of the year.
The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Modesto, where regular is $3.65 per gallon in that metro area. Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Yreka has the highest average price at $3.99. The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Missouri, at $3.10 per gallon of unleaded regular. The highest price of gasoline in the nation’s metro areas is in Wailuku, Hawaii, at $4.29 per gallon.U