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AAA says state gas prices jumped 22 cents in past month

Fuel costs in Northern California have jumped 22 cents in the past month to $2.23 a gallon, according to AAA Northern California, which tracks the price of gas.

"Historically, gas prices follow the path of oil prices, said Matt Skryja, AAA Northern California spokesperson. "But that hasn't been the case so far in 2009. Refiners have cut back on the amount of gasoline being refined due to the lack of demand and the poor economy. That cutback has had an impact on supply, pushing retail prices higher while oil prices have leveled off in the $40 per barrel range."

California’s statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.23, up 22 cents since last month’s report on Jan. 13. Northern California gas prices are averaging $2.24, up 20 cents from last month.

“If the national average price of gasoline moves past the $2 per gallon level, there will be even less of a reason to expect a rebound in the number of miles Americans drive this spring,” said Skryja..

The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in Santa Rosa, where the price per gallon is $2.15. Of all the metro areas in Northern California where gas prices are tracked by AAA, Eureka saw the biggest increase over the last month, as its average price jumped by 29 cents to $2.49. Fresno was close behind with a 28 cent jump to $2.35.

Alaska has the highest average price for unleaded gas in the entire country at $2.52. California has the highest average among the lower 48 states at $2.23. Currently, 10 states have averages of $2 or more. Among the lower 48 states, the least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Casper, Wyoming, where the average price of gas is $1.55. The highest average price in the nation is in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the price is $2.54. Among the lower 48 states, the highest price is in Tahoe City, Calif., where the price is $2.52.

The AAA recommended that consumers shop aggressively for the lowest price. The AAA Gas Price Finder locates low gas prices and provides updated price information for more than 85,000 gas stations throughout the United States and Canada at