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Gas prices fall in wake of economic woes

POSTED July 14, 2009 10:35 p.m.

Lately, drivers pulling up to a gas station to fill their tank don’t know what prices they will find at the pump. Gas prices that were nearing the $3 mark just last month, are now closer to $2.50.


The latest report from AAA Northern California finds most gas prices throughout the state are continuing a slow spiral downwards thanks to tough economic times and climbing supplies of crude oil. All but five metro areas where AAA tracks gas prices in Northern California saw a drop in their average gas prices.


According to the latest report from AAA Northern California, California’s average gas price is the third highest among all 50 states. The Golden State’s average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is averaging $2.89, down 3 cents since last month’s report. For perspective, that’s $1.62 less than California’s average price on this date last year, when it was $4.51.


Northern California gas prices are now averaging $2.88, down 4 cents from last month. In the San Francisco Bay Area, motorists can expect to pay an average price of $2.98, which is the same average price since AAA’s last report on June 9. The national average price of $2.52 is down by 10 cents, which is still $1.59 cheaper than the national price on this date last year, when it was $4.11.  


AAA analysts attribute the continuing drop in both retail gasoline and crude oil prices to a dramatic slump in the U.S. and world economies. Over the last two weeks alone, market oil prices have declined almost 20 percent. The change in price seems more dramatic in the shadow of a rapid climb for oil prices in June. The increase in the price of oil was built mainly around hope that an economic turnaround was right around the corner, even though market fundamentals indicated it was most likely not going to happen. Oil investors are now eagerly awaiting reports on oil and gas supplies being released this week, which could immediately impact investment activity.


“California is among those states that have the most noticeable low demand for retail gasoline,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Matt Skryja. “This may be attributed in part to state budget problems, which aren’t helping to inspire confidence in the economy. Combine that with a lack of clear signals about the country’s over-all economic health and it is unlikely consumers will see big swings in gasoline prices any time soon.”
The least expensive gasoline in Turlock, according to a Tuesday search of gasbuddy.com, is $2.57 at the ARCO located at 101 E. Glenwood Ave.; followed by $2.59 at Costco, located at 2955 N. Tegner Rd.; and $2.61 at Quik Stop, located at 1590 Lander Ave., Circle K, located at 1600 W. Main St., and ARCO, located at 2015 W. Main St.


The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Springfield, Mo. where the average price of gas is $2.15. Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the crown for the highest average price in the nation, with $3.57 per gallon.

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