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Gas prices climb

POSTED February 14, 2012 8:23 p.m.

The pump prices have jumped in every single metro area across Northern California, according to the latest report from AAA Insurance, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers. According to AAA, all of the Northern California metro areas tracked by the organization had double-digit increases over the past month.

The Golden State’s average for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $3.85, up 15 cents since last month’s AAA report on Jan. 10. That’s 40 cents higher than California’s average price on this date last year. Among all 50 states, California has the third highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline. Hawaii is first and Alaska is second.

Northern California gas prices are now averaging $3.83, up 16 cents from last month. In the San Francisco Bay Area, motorists can expect to pay an average price of $3.90, which is a 16-cent increase. The national average price of $3.51 is up by 14 cents, which is 38 cents more than the national price on this date last year, when it was $3.13.

“Gasoline prices continue to be largely influenced by investors’ activity,” said AAA Insurance spokesperson Matt Skryja. “They are looking for any influences, perceived or real, to both supply and demand. These influences impact their buying behavior. Positive economic news tends to inspire investors’ buying, as they anticipate increased demand. The reverse is true with poor economic news.”

In Turlock, the cheapest gas can be found at Costco at $3.57 a gallon for regular unleaded, followed by ARCO  stations on the corner of W. Main Street and Walnut Road and on N. Golden State Boulevard and Olive Avenue with $3.61 a gallon. Costco had the lowest priced gasoline in January also at $3.43 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.com.

The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Salinas where regular is $3.73 per gallon. Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka has the highest average price at $4.05. This is also the highest price in the lower 48 states. The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Casper, Wyo. The average price of gas in that metro area is $2.86. Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the dubious crown for the highest average price in the nation, at $4.41 per gallon.

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