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Savings at pump could be short-lived

POSTED December 9, 2011 11:07 p.m.

As the Christmas holiday draws near – and heavily on shoppers’ bank accounts – Valley residents are seeing savings at the gas pumps, down 21 cents per gallon in the last month.

But those savings could dry up as the countdown to Christmas continues, according to GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

“Even as oil and gasoline futures rallied after strong Black Friday sales reports and a drop in unemployment, retail gasoline prices have moved lower,” DeHaan said. “I have a suspicion that as we near 2012, we may see retail prices climb slightly higher again on upbeat holiday spending, which is indicative of a healthier economy. If we remember back to last year, positive holiday sales also led to higher gasoline prices as Christmas approached, which may play out again this year.”

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline currently sits at $3.52 in Stanislaus County, per gas price-tracking website GasBuddy.com. That’s more than the nationwide average, $3.30, but less than the statewide average, $3.60.

Stanislaus County drivers are paying 21 cents per gallon less than a month ago, and 3 cents per gallon less than a week ago, but prices are up 39 cents per gallon compared to this day in 2010. The price is down from a $4.19 per gallon 2011 high in April, and an all-time $4.52 per gallon price in April, 2008.

In Turlock specifically, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline can be purchased as inexpensively as $3.37 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.

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

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