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After rocketing up an average of about 55 cents in the past month — more at some stations — gas prices in Sonoma County appear to have leveled off and may even have peaked.

Analysts say the price surge was driven by the annual switch by refineries from making winter gas to more expensive-to-produce-but-cleaner summer gas and by some refineries reducing production to do maintenance.

AAA reported Wednesday that the average price for regular gas in Santa Rosa was $4.169, roughly the same it has been for the last couple of days. But that’s up about 10 cents from a week ago and 55.6 cents from a month ago. A year ago, it was $4.28. The record is $4.65 last Oct. 9.

For the state, the average price soared 53.5 cents a gallon over the past four weeks, making that the fifth biggest jump since 1996, says Rob Schlichting, a spokesman for the state Energy Commission. The biggest increase by amount was 63.6 cents for the four weeks that ended June 16, 2008.

He says that with the price increase having slowed dramatically, it appears prices have stabilized for drivers.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with gasbuddy.com, says Southern California prices already have peaked and Northern California prices “are close to peaking if not already.” At most, he says, prices might rise inch up a bit this week before slowly dropping next week.

He says the latest stats show gas production by the state’s refineries is down 9 percent from last year while inventories are up 22 percent. He says that’s somewhat puzzling, figuring that a higher supply would drive down prices, but he theorized that market traders are paying attention to the production numbers, knowing that any extra supply could dry up quickly in a crisis.

California’s average price, according to AAA, is $4.238 compared to the nation’s low of $3.272 in Wyoming and high of $4.365 in Hawaii.

Gasbuddy.com reported that the lowest price in the state as reported by one of its readers was $3.79 at 4B Gas in Tulare, while the highest was $5.19 at a Chevron station in L.A.

In Santa Rosa, gasbuddy.com showed Wednesday afternoon that the cheapest reported was $3.99 at Roseland Gas Mart on Sebastopol Road.

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Comments

14 Comments

  1. cate

    underneath our soil and ocean are the world’s largest deposits of oil; much larger than the Middle East and all the other locations in the world combined. But we have not built a refinery on 30 years. Meanwhile we are buying our oil from people who hate us and use our money to fund terrorism, as well as to enrich their own societies, of course. North Dakota has a drilling program to recover shale oil and their state economy is booming. WalMart has to pay people $17 to work there or they wouldn’t have enough workers to run the store. To me, that is an enviable position for a state to be in, and I hope California can wake up and get a clue that drilling is the way to our prosperous future, and low gas prices.

    February 27th, 2013 3:18 pm

  2. Dave

    I am so glad we got these evil oil men out of The White House! LOL

    February 27th, 2013 3:25 pm

  3. Joe

    Summer blend? Is it summer yet? Any reason to jack up the prices! So what is the price going to be this summer, $5 or more?

    February 27th, 2013 6:17 pm

  4. Joe

    Forgot to add this in “Venezuela- $0.18 per gallon”

    February 27th, 2013 6:19 pm

  5. Susan

    Any reason to raise the price of gas. We know that the government needs more funds for foreign aid.

    February 27th, 2013 6:36 pm

  6. dave

    Summer gas in February? What, they couldn’t come up with any other reason to spike the prices?

    February 27th, 2013 7:53 pm

  7. Driver

    So what was the good news? Did I miss it?

    February 27th, 2013 8:02 pm

  8. Ron

    The doofus’s voted AGAINST energy independence! Brilliant! Gas WAS $1.65 when the clown took power! Google: Gas Price, Dec 2008, CNN to see it WAS $1.65 a gallon! You Obama voters sicken me so enjoy the Obama higher prices across the board due to gas prices!!!!!

    February 27th, 2013 8:10 pm

  9. Michael

    The two most relevant words in the article are “market traders”.

    February 28th, 2013 12:49 am

  10. Pearl

    “Opening Anwar to oil drilling will not do us any good because it would take 10 years for that oil to reach the market”

    Bill Clinton 1996
    Visionary!

    February 28th, 2013 5:51 am

  11. scot

    Not enough refineries and stupid “blends” for different seasons. Thank liberals.

    February 28th, 2013 7:29 am

  12. Kark

    Analysts say the price surge was driven by the annual switch by refineries from making winter gas to more expensive-to-produce-but-cleaner summer gas and by some refineries reducing production to do maintenance.

    SIMPLER EXPLANATION: GREED, GREED, GREED

    February 28th, 2013 8:40 am

  13. Mike

    If you want to know just how much the oil companies are gouging you, look at the difference in price between the name-brand stations and Costco. Both get their gas from the same refineries, but Costco isn’t adding the same markup. Sometimes the difference will be minimal, other times, the cheapest gas you’ll find will be 20+ cents per gallon more than at Costco, and that’s when you know the gouging is in full effect.

    Note: please don’t blame the gas station owners, as they are really not making a lot on gas sales. As a franchisee of the big name-brand company, they are getting gouged at the “wholesale” prices the companies are charging them.

    No, they don’t collude in gouging, just call it “zone pricing” and then it’s not illegal collusion. Greed sucks, mkay?

    February 28th, 2013 10:52 am

  14. Jeff

    Gas should, and will eventually be, be $10+ per gallon.

    THATS whats going on with gas prices.

    March 5th, 2013 5:19 pm

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