Gas Prices Getting Higher Again

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Gas prices are inching higher in the Bay Area, but just be thankful you don’t have to fill-up in Southern California where prices could jump 37 cents a gallon this weekend.

The Consumer Watchdog group said Thursday that the switch to the state’s more expensive summer blend of fuel triggered the increase.

But the impact will not be as severe in Northern California. Maybe a dime or 20 cents.

“Northern Cal won’t face the same spike,” said Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court. “The reason is the summer blend change over took place according to schedule on Feb. 15 in the north, but was delayed in the south for a week and that caused this disruption.

“Now it will be SoCal’s turn and it will be in for a big time gasoline price spike”.

The state average stood at $2.31 on Thursday, but several stations in San Jose bumped it up three cents or more from a day earlier. This is 38 cents lower than a month ago and 72 cents cheaper than a year ago, according to AAA.

Prices have slumped to under $2 a gallon at numerous Bay Area stations and as low as $1.73 in Central Valley stores.

“It’s been nice,” said motorist Fred Lee of Fremont. “But everyone knows it won’t last.”

Californians were paying more than 90 cents a gallon than drivers nationally just a few weeks ago. Now it’s a 59-cent gap: $1.72 to $2.31.

California’s big decline in prices was attributed to an oversupply of winter-blend gasoline. Building the winter-blend inventory with the smog-busting summer version lead to huge discounts, according to

“As a result, gas prices plummeted where at one point Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices were the cheapest in the nation, a rare occurrence,” wrote analyst Will Speer in a blog.

Oil was selling for around $32 a barrel on Thursday, and is down about 15 percent this year on speculation of the global glut continuing, Iran back selling oil and brimming U.S. inventories.

Domestic crude oil inventories reached their highest level for this time of year in nearly eight decades causing prices to remain near their lowest price point since the Great Recession.

High gasoline inventories and continued production are cited as reasons for keeping prices low statewide. According to the latest AAA Fuel Gauge Report, pump prices are down $0.36 with the average price of unleaded regular at $2.49 per gallon as of today.

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