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Pump prices dig deeper into consumers’ pockets

POSTED February 17, 2012 11:14 p.m.

The recovering economy may be good news to investors, but it's bad news for drivers.
In the last month, California gasoline prices have jumped 15 cents to $3.85 per gallon, largely due to the rebounding stock market, according to AAA Northern California's monthly gas price tracking report.
"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."
Crude oil prices, which drive prices at the pump, moved higher as Greek lawmakers approved austerity measures - viewed by analysts as positive economic news. Also driving crude increases were tensions with Iran - leading to uncertainty in future crude supplies - and recent production cutbacks at some American and European refineries.
In Northern California, gasoline is now $3.83 per gallon, up 15 cents since January. The national average gasoline price, $3.51 per gallon, is up 14 cents in a month, and 38 cents from this day last year.
The Modesto metropolitan area, which includes Turlock, has an average gasoline price of $3.77 per gallon, per AAA. That's a 17 cent per gallon increase from January.
The least expensive gasoline in the county is available in Turlock, at a price of $3.63 per gallon, according to gas price tracking website GasBuddy.com.

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