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Gas prices remain low in Turlock

POSTED February 16, 2016 9:04 p.m.

The national average price of gas increased Tuesday for the first time in 20 days — not than any Turlock residents would notice.

Average gas prices are still at levels not seen since January 2009, and in Turlock there were several outlets with gas below $2 a gallon. Five locations in Turlock were selling gas at $1.73 to $1.75 a gallon, according to Gasbuddy.com, which listed Turlock and Modesto as having the cheapest gas in the state.

The national average has fallen for 42 out of 47 days this year for a total savings of 30 cents per gallon. Today’s average price of $1.70 represents a savings of three cents per gallon on the week, 20 cents per gallon on the month and 55 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year, according to AAA.

Typical for this time of year, refinery production is beginning to drop as many refineries prepare for seasonal maintenance in advance of the summer driving season. In addition, some refineries reportedly have cut production because of abundant supplies and low prices. This decline in production has led to higher prices throughout the Midwest and slowed recent declines in the national average price of gas. Industry analysts expect this year’s spring maintenance season to peak in April, and pump prices are likely to rise in the coming months due to fluctuations in supply and demand associated with this process. However, unlike previous years, gasoline inventories are reportedly at higher-than-normal levels and the price of crude oil remains low. The combination of these two factors should help keep gas prices relatively low compared to recent years, though prices are likely to be a good deal higher by Memorial Day than they are now, AAA reported.

Hawaii ($2.61) is the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline and averages in the state are 21 cents per gallon higher than second-place California ($2.40). Alaska ($2.26), Nevada ($2.07) and Washington ($2.04) round out the top five most expensive markets and are the only states where drivers are paying average prices above the $2 per gallon threshold. The nation’s least expensive markets for gas are Oklahoma ($1.41), Missouri ($1.41) and Kansas ($1.44), and motorists in a total of 34 states are paying averages at or below $1.75 per gallon.

Monthly savings persist in every state and Washington, D.C., and with the exception of Hawaii (-3 cents) retail averages are down by double digits over this same period. Averages are lower in nine states by a quarter or more per gallon with the largest drops in California (-38 cents), Nevada (-36 cents) and Washington (-30 cents). This time last month the West Coast was dealing with lingering refinery challenges, which caused prices to move noticeably higher in the region. These refinery issues appear to be largely resolved and supply in the region has reportedly recovered, helping to push prices lower month-over-month.

The magnitude of yearly savings is beginning to widen again and retail averages are down in every state and Washington, D.C. year-over-year. Pump prices in the vast majority of states (47) are down by a quarter or more per gallon compared to a year ago, and motorists in 28 states are paying averages that are 50 cents or more per gallon less than this same date last year. The largest savings in price are in the Midwestern states of Illinois (-81 cents), Indiana (-76 cents), Michigan (-73 cents) and Ohio (-73 cents).

Speculation about future supply and demand is contributing to swings in the global price of crude oil. Market fundamentals continue to point to oversupply, though prices may continue to fluctuate in the near-term as rumors of production cuts and possible deals between OPEC and non-OPEC member countries influence the market.

Despite the lower price environment, there has not yet been a major reduction in U.S. oil production, AAA reported.

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