AAA: Gas price plateau may not last long; state average $4.26 a gallon

WALNUT CREEK – Gas prices across California may seem relatively stable, but a month to month comparison from AAA shows a nine cent jump at the pump in the state’s average price. Among all 50 states, California is now tied with Connecticut and Illinois for the third highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline, AAA said in a news release. According to AAA, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers, every Northern California metro area tracked by the organization saw an increase of at least five cents at the pump over the past month. The Golden State’s average for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $4.26, up nine cents since last month’s AAA report on April 12. For perspective, that’s $1.10 higher than California’s average price on this date last year. Northern California gas prices are now averaging $4.25, up eight cents from last month. In the San Francisco Bay Area, motorists can expect to pay an average price of $4.32, which is a 10-cent increase. The national average price of $3.95 is up by 16 cents, which is $1.04 more than the national price on this date last year, when it was $2.91. The national average price has not been this high since July of 2008. Twelve states now have their average prices at $4 or more a gallon for regular gasoline. Seventeen other states are within ten cents of the $4 mark. “After hitting a plateau of sorts for several days last week, prices at the pump have dipped slightly,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Matt Skryja. “It’s tough to say how long this dip will last, given that the lower oil prices of last week have now rebounded a bit. Motorists need to keep in mind that we are just a couple of weeks away from the Memorial Day weekend. This holiday is typically considered the start of the summer driving season, when prices are traditionally higher.” Over the last two weeks, demand for gasoline has stayed relatively steady across the United States. A drop in crude oil prices last week spurred speculation among analysts about whether that would lead to lower prices at the pump. While last week’s correction in crude oil prices was significant, there is still supply instability in the Middle East and North Africa region, which has driven much of the year’s gains. This has prompted a number of analysts to suggest that, while this correction was warranted in the near-term, conditions may be in place for crude oil prices to return to higher levels in the long-term. The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Marysville, where regular is $4.14. Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka’s average price of $4.44 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 Casper, Wyoming, where the average price of gas is $3.43. Wailuku, Hawaii, holds the dubious crown for the highest average price in the nation, at $4.96 per gallon. AAA Monthly Gas Price Averages: May 10 City/State/Region Price Monthly Change City/State/Region Price Monthly Change NATIONAL 3.95 + .16 SAN MATEO 4.31 + .11 CALIFORNIA 4.26 + .09 SAN RAFAEL 4.30 + .09 N. CALIFORNIA 4.25 + .08 SANTA CRUZ 4.21 + .08 BAY AREA 4.32 + .10 SANTA ROSA 4.26 + .09 CHICO 4.21 + .10 S. LAKE TAHOE 4.33 + .05 CONCORD 4.26 + .10 STOCKTON 4.22 + .11 EUREKA 4.44 + .10 TRACY 4.22 + .09 FREMONT 4.21 + .06 UKIAH 4.22 + .10 FRESNO 4.24 + .10 VALLEJO 4.24 + .09 MARYSVILLE 4.14 + .05 YREKA 4.36 + .08 MODESTO 4.19 + .09 Elsewhere MONTEREY 4.27 + .13 LAS VEGAS 3.88 + .05 OAKLAND 4.32 + .08 LOS ANGELES 4.28 + .10 PLEASANTON 4.32 + .09 NEW YORK CITY 4.29 + .28 REDDING 4.23 + .11 WASHINGTON, DC 4.16 + .19 SACRAMENTO 4.22 + .09 SALINAS 4.23 + .11 SAN FRANCISCO 4.33 + .09 SAN JOSE 4.25 + .07