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It was nice while it lasted.

Gas prices in Santa Rosa, and across the state, have been rocketing toward $4 a gallon, and analysts say they may even near the record high, set just last fall.

On Wednesday, AAA reported that the average for regular was $3.864 a gallon in Santa Rosa, up a couple of cents from the day before, up nearly 20 cents  in the past week and up nearly 30 cents in the past month. A year ago, it was $3.745. The record is $4.65 on Oct. 9.

Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com, blames the price surge on several factors:

–Refineries around the state and nation are reducing production to get rid of their stocks of winter blend gas.

–That drop in production has translated into higher wholesales prices, thus higher at-the-pump prices.

–Expectations of even tighter gas supplies as refineries start undergoing maintenance in anticipation of producing summer blend gas by May 1.

Laskoski says a federal Energy Department report out Wednesday shows refineries in California and West Coast states are operating at the lowest capacity of any region in the U.S. at 75.3 percent. The national average is 84 percent.

He says gasbuddy.com is projecting prices in the San Francisco area will hit $4.25 to $4.60 a gallon  before peaking in April or May. The current price increases should slow between now and then, he says. Of course, this is all barring some Mideast or other world crisis.

The only other region of the country where prices are climbing so fast is the Great Lakes, he says. Chicago’s average price also has soared 20 cents in the past week to $3.975.

Gasbuddy.com listed a handful of stations in Santa Rosa as the area’s cheapest at $3.71 with a few stations at almost $4 and one — Chevron on Airport Boulevard, which typically is high — at $4.09.

AAA reported Modesto had the lowest average price at $3.709 and L.A. the highest at $4.058. The state average was $3.957.

Wyoming had Wednesday’s cheapest average at $2.97, while Hawaii had the most expensive at $4.156.

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Comments

13 Comments

  1. rt

    not buying media excuses. more like an admin wanting prices to rise closer to European levels to make everything else they’ve done appear to be more economically feasible.

    February 6th, 2013 3:08 pm

  2. Julie Johnson

    If the econuts would “allow” more refineries to be built this wouldn’t happen.

    February 6th, 2013 3:17 pm

  3. cara

    to rt: seriously? You read the article?

    February 6th, 2013 3:54 pm

  4. Todd Dodson

    It’s pretty obvious here… The prices went WAAAY up before the final days of the election to make Obama looks like a bad guy since there was nothing he could do about it.

    Since concessions weren’t made between Obama and Big Oil (B.O), B.O had to go chat with Mitt Romney, he publicly stated he would make those concessions, thus B.O supported ROMNEY (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/boehner-gas-prices-cost-obama-election-cutting-oil/comments?type=story&id=13451597#.URL1ymdtxvE)

    Stupid sheep will go wherever the shepherd leads…

    February 6th, 2013 4:33 pm

  5. Wilson

    Gas prices in major areas of California are high simply because we keep paying their price. Scary but gas is actually a little higher in Los Angeles than here.

    What I would like to know, or at least confirm, is if Petaluma with no ARCO or Costco and few independent stations has the highest gas prices in the county.

    February 6th, 2013 5:33 pm

  6. Mechazawa

    “If the econuts would “allow” more refineries to be built this wouldn’t happen.”

    I urge you to reread the fourth complete, unbulleted paragraph and then explain why building more refineries would decrease prices if the ones we already have are only running at 3/4 capacity.

    February 6th, 2013 5:51 pm

  7. Phineas Worthington

    Jobs, growth, and economic vitality and independence are all right under our feet, but the bureaucrats and their voters won’t let that happen. CA could once again regain its title as #1 gas producer if the environmentalists would recognize the value of energy production to human life. We sit on one of the largest deposits of shale gas in North America and the only reason we can’t use it is the environmentalists and their restrictions on the production of energy. Get a clue people!

    February 6th, 2013 8:54 pm

  8. rknutson

    Arguments for more drilling or more refineries are patently false as we export more oil products than we import. We have for the last 2 years. The world market comes first. We are a very distant second. The oil corporations loyalties are to profits only, certainly not to our country.

    February 7th, 2013 1:07 am

  9. Matt Everson

    This is market manipulation. Winter blend…us,met blend. Is this the first winter in business, Chevron? This is what economists refer to as an oligopoly. There are two effective tools to combat this…drive less or break the oligopoly and allow for greater competition. As American ruse consistently to stop driving as much as they do and stubbornly refuse to vote and hold elected officials accountable…this is your result, $4 gas.

    February 7th, 2013 6:52 am

  10. Ronald Breeze

    What was left out of this story is the Wall Street speculators who have put hard money on oil and gas prices rising. They stand to profit the most from consumers having to pay more at the pump. If you want to know the real reason always follow the money.

    February 7th, 2013 9:29 am

  11. Kark

    It’s always the refineries fault that gas prices go up within hours but take months to go down… how come gas hasn’t gone down to under $3?

    Solution, STOP driving as much as possible during the periods that the oil companies reduce production…

    February 7th, 2013 9:43 am

  12. Randy Seelye

    Hawaii may still have the highest gas prices in the country, but at least on Maui prices are lower than they used to be. When Costco opened a gas station in Kahaluli in 2012 its prices were from 30 cents to 50 cents less per gallon than other stations. This forced gas stations throughout the island to also lower prices!

    February 7th, 2013 4:04 pm

  13. Robert Fresh

    You need to take a drive up the coast to Humboldt County $4.18 per gallon. They say it is transportation costs LOL. Guess it is cheaper to ship to hawaii.

    February 12th, 2013 1:49 pm

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