Gas prices in California are rising higher, reported AAA Northern California, with a state average increase of 12 cents. While not as high as the state average, the Modesto area has seen an average increase of 10 cents at $3.21 per gallon.According to AAA’s latest report, all but six Northern California metro areas tracked by AAA saw a double digit increase at the pump over the past month. 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 $3.26, up 12 cents since last month’s report on Nov. 9. That’s 35 cents higher than California’s average price on this date last year, when it was $2.91.The national average price of $2.98 is up by 12 cents, which is 38 cents more than the national price on this date last year, when it was $2.60. The price of crude is largely being driven by how investors look at oil as an investment, stated AAA in a press release. Given that oil is traded in dollars, the weaker the dollar is the more it is typically bought by investors worldwide. Recently, the dollar has been generally weak. That has spurred some buying. An additional influence on prices has been how investors are interpreting economic data. The better the worldwide economy looks, the more attractive crude oil becomes as an investment. A mixed bag of global and domestic news ultimately put slight downward pressure on crude oil prices, although those prices have generally been climbing. Investor’s recent concerns surround the shaky strength of the European economy. On the flip side, Japan had greater than expected third-quarter growth. “As the past 25 years have shown us, crude oil and gasoline prices are tremendously tidal. Throughout 2010, those prices have ebbed and flowed with the financial tides, and that is certainly the case so far in December,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Matt Skryja. “Despite the recent uncertainty about the economic impact on the price of crude, demand in the United States has been only slightly higher this year, when compared to 2009.” The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Chico where regular is $3.19. According to ModestoGasPrices.com, the lowest price for a gallon of gas in Turlock is $3.05 at Costco on Tegner Road and ARCO on the corner of W. Main Street and Walnut Road.Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka’s average price of $3.45 is the highest. It’s also the highest price reported by AAA in the lower 48 states. The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Cheyenne, Wyo., where the average price of gas is $2.58. Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the dubious crown for the highest average price in the nation, at $3.99 per gallon.
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