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Local drivers see a drop in gas prices

POSTED August 16, 2011 9:33 p.m.

Consumers are seeing some price relief at the gasoline pump, but prices are still up compared to last month, according to AAA Northern California’s monthly report.

Northern California gas prices average $3.79, up two cents from a month ago, per the AAA report.

The statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.78, unchanged since last month but 61 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. Nationwide, gasoline averages $3.65 per gallon, up one cent since last month and 88 cents from the year previous.

Gasoline is less expensive in the Modesto metropolitan area than in Northern California as a whole, currently averaging $3.66 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. As of Tuesday, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline could be found In Turlock as inexpensively as $3.46 per gallon.

According to AAA, prices at the pump are trending lower due to weak consumer demand, which makes gasoline and oil less attractive as investments.

“Investor activity is a major factor that drives oil prices,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Matt Skryja. “Consumer relief at the pump often lags behind any declines in crude prices, as cheaper oil works its way through the refining and distribution process.”

Weak data on U.S. and Chinese manufacturing is also driving down the price of oil, AAA said, while better-than-expected jobs figures may be driving oil slightly up.

To contact Alex Cantatore e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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