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Gas prices begin to stabilize
gas prices

California’s high gas prices aren’t likely to stall July 4 holiday travel plans even as state gas prices continue to reign over national averages. Despite high prices, retail gas is beginning to hold steady as Tuesday’s average price was registering $3.59 on average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline. That is $0.14 cheaper since AAA Northern California’s last month’s gas survey on May 12.

In Turlock on Tuesday, gas could be found from as cheap as $2.99 a gallon at Costco and the ARCO on Lander and W. Glenwood, which is $.26 cheaper than a month ago.

Of all metro areas tracked by AAA in Northern California, San Francisco registered the highest price at $3.66 per gallon of unleaded regular.

 “Prices on the West Coast are stabilizing due to a surge in imports that have helped to offset supply issues stemming from refinery problems,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “Nevertheless, a number of factors could cause prices to inch higher during the summer driving season, such as geopolitical issues in the Middle East, unexpected problems at major refineries or a major hurricane that disrupts production, refining and distribution.”

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has remained steady over the past week and continues to hover near at what many expect to be the highest average of the year. Tuesday’s price of $2.75 per gallon is fractions of a penny higher than a week ago and is $0.09 per gallon higher than one month ago.

In addition, the cost of crude oil is unlikely to rise significantly in the near term given that OPEC decided not to cut production at its most recent meeting.

As expected, OPEC opted to maintain its current production levels during its June 5 meeting in Vienna, and the global oil market is likely to remain oversupplied in the near term. The oil cartel explained its decision by citing expectations of increased demand from emerging economies and the fact that recent increases in the global price have made the market favorable for both producers and consumers. OPEC plans to continue to monitor developments in the coming months and could reassess their decision at their next meeting scheduled for December 4.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX on Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased $1.13, settling at $59.13 per barrel.