Gas prices hit the $3 mark

California’s average gas price is $3 a gallon, according to AAA of Northern California.
California’s average gas price is $3 a gallon, according to AAA of Northern California. Sierra Star

California’s average gasoline price of $3 a gallon is the second highest in the nation, with only Hawaii having a higher price of $3.07. Despite lower crude costs nationally, prices in California have slightly increased due to ongoing maintenance of refineries on the West Coast, according to AAA Northern California.

Today’s average price of California unleaded regular gas is $3, up 12 cents from a month ago and 41cents higher than a year ago.

In Oakhurst, as of Monday, cash prices for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline range from $2.99 (E-Z Mart) to $3.09 (76 station and Valero), to $3.17 (Vons) to $3.19 (Chevron). Prices for premium gas ranged from $3.29 (76 and E-Z Mart) to $3.39 (Chevron and Valero), to $3.49 (Vons).

Northern California’s average price for regular gasoline is $2.95, up 15 cents from a month ago. Of the Northern California cities surveyed by AAA as a service to consumers, Marysville posted the lowest price at $2.71 and South Lake Tahoe has the highest average at $3.23.

“Gas prices in California are the highest they’ve been in nearly five years,” said John Moreno, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “While national gas prices are declining, on the west coast, refinery maintenance and the process of switching to summer-blend gasoline is continuing to have an impact on prices.”

While prices in California continue to climb, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has seen declining prices for more than a week, resting at $2.29. Though consumers are still paying 36 cents more than they were a year ago.

Experts predict that gas prices may continue to drop in the near future due to declining crude oil prices and a well-supplied market, but will begin to creep up again due to seasonal refinery maintenance and the upcoming conversion to summer-blend gasoline.

To get the best mileage possible, AAA recommends keeping tires at the proper pressure suggested by the vehicle manufacturer, performing routine maintenance and making sure fluids are clean and belts and hoses are in good repair. The way you drive can also impact fuel economy. Smooth driving to avoid sudden stops and starts, combining trips and lightening your load also help conserve gasoline.

Staff Report