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Gas Setting New Records Daily | Oil Watchdog

Gas Setting New Records Daily

Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Gas Setting New Records Daily

    Gasoline Prices Passing $4, Setting New Records Daily

    Prices over $3 everywhere — The question is, will we see $5? — Gasoline now rivals Iraq as Americans’ biggest worry

    Gasoline price records are being broken throughout California for
    the third consecutive week, according to two separate price surveys.

    "For more than one-third of 2008 so far, California has been setting
    new daily price records for gasoline," says Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman
    for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

    "Gas conservation is a top concern for many motorists, so they should
    ensure their tires are properly inflated and that they adopt a smooth
    driving style to maximize their fuel economy," Mr. Spring says.

    More than home foreclosures, more than who might be the next President,
    more than global warming, the availability of gasoline is near the top
    of things that worry Americans the most, according to a new poll.

    Almost half of the 1,200 voters polled by Peter Hart Research
    Associates Inc. rate imports as one of their two biggest energy
    concerns. A distant second is the lack of viable alternatives to fossil
    fuels.

    Only the war in Iraq and the health insurance crisis top energy issues
    as very serious concerns for more voters (67 percent and 62 percent,
    respectively).

    The Renewable Fuels Now Coalition sponsored the poll.

    A consumers organization is accusing the oil industry of responding to
    the expectations of speculative markets, not the needs of a sagging
    economy or the long-term health of the industry.

    "Refiners are now curbing production of gasoline even more than
    consumers have cut back on driving, so gasoline prices are now rising
    faster than oil prices," says Judy Dugan, research director of the
    nonprofit Consumer Watchdog (formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and
    Consumer Rights) of Santa Monica.

    "What drivers and the economy as a whole can’t afford is an industry bent on having it both ways," says Ms. Dugan.

    Pointing to diesel prices, which have increased at a pace even faster
    than gasoline, one industry watcher says $4 gasoline will soon be
    commonplace.

    "It’s a given that we will see $4 at the pump. The question is, will we
    see $5? If we have so much as a big burp at any refinery in the West
    this summer, $5 per gallon is likely, at least in California," says
    independent oil analyst Tim Hamilton.

    Here are Central Valley market averages
    on April 25, (driving from south to north) as reported by the American
    Automobile Association with last week’s (April 18) averages in
    parentheses and April 11 prices in brackets:

    • Bakersfield, $3.839 ($3.763) [$3.686]

    • Visalia-Porterville, $3.895 ($3.813) [$3.794]

    • Fresno, $3.886 ($3.824) [$3.753]

    • Merced, $3.925 ($3.851) [$3.787]

    • Modesto, $3.873 ($3.806) [$3.735]

    • Stockton-Lodi, $3.875 ($3.805) [$3.742]

    • Sacramento, $3.878 ($3.830) [$3.760]

    • Yolo, $3.875 ($3.842) [$3.776]

    • Chico, $3.863 ($3.795) [$3.712]

    The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los
    Angeles-Long Beach area is $3.858, which is 5.2 cents more than last
    week. In San Diego, the price is $3.894, which is 6.2 cents higher than
    last week’s price.

    Prices across California are running about 50 cents or more higher than at this time last year.

    California’s highest market average price on April 25 is edging ever closer to $4. Again this week, it is the state’s all-time highest average price and again is found in San Francisco at $3.987, up a mere 2.1 cents since last week.

    Orange County’s has California’s lowest market average price at $3.834, the AAA says.

    The lowest price found by the website GasBuddy.com in California is
    $3.71 per gallon, found at two gas stations in Visalia and one in El
    Centro.

    Old Bridge, N.J., noted for having an interchange on the Garden State
    Parkway, has a gas station with what might be the nation’s lowest price
    today, $3.17, GasBuddy says.

    New Jersey has the nation’s lowest statewide average price of $3.391,
    an increase of nearly 20 cents since last Friday, while California has
    the nation’s highest, at $3.888, up 5.1 cents in a week’s time, the AAA
    says.

    The number of California cities where gasoline can be found for more
    than $4 per gallon is now at least 11, according to the website
    GasBuddy.com.

    The highest price found by GasBuddy’s price spotters is $4.59 at a Shell station in Bridgeport.

    GasBuddy bases its figures on reports from volunteer “price spotters” reporting specific locations in the U.S. and Canada.

    The AAA’s prices are market averages for self-serve regular grade (87
    octane) gasoline. They are calculated from credit card purchases.

    Not every station is surveyed and not every market is included in
    either report. Both price surveys note that there can be wide
    variations within markets.

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