Merced has seen a rise in the average price of gasoline, just in time for holiday travel.
Filling up her tank on Christmas Eve, Liza Servin of Merced said she was glad to know she wasn’t going to need to go far for the holiday.
The bills can start to add up with “the gas prices, and then the gifts and the holidays,” the 37-year-old said. “We’ll stay home.”
Servin said she’s noticed the recent rise in gas prices because she always shops around before buying.
Gas prices across the state saw an increase from this time last month after falling for a few months, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge report. Across the state the price was $3.60 a gallon for regular unleaded, the highest state average behind Hawaii, Connecticut and Alaska.
California’s prices are about 8 cents per gallon higher than at this time a year ago.
The average price of regular gas in Merced was $3.53 a gallon on Christmas Eve. That’s up by 3 cents from last month and 11 cents from this time last year, according to AAA.
National gas prices rose 1.1 cents per gallon of regular since last year to $3.25 on Tuesday.
AAA projects 94.5 million Americans will have journeyed 50 miles or more from home between the Saturday and Jan. 1, an increase of less than 1 percent from the 94 million people who did so last year. That marks the fifth consecutive year of increases and a record number of travelers for the season, according to AAA.
The new year may not offer any stability for predicting the cost for filling up a gas tank.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, anticipates another year of “wild price swings.” The website surveys 720 gas outlets nationwide.
“Volatility in the U.S. gasoline market is here to stay,” he wrote. “Very uneven crude oil prices, and equally uneven regional refining, should lead to gyrations of 30 to 75 (cents per gallon) more for given localities.”