Southern California Gas Prices Continue to Drop
17 May 2000
Southern California Gas Prices Continue to Drop; National Average Price Shows Slight IncreaseLOS ANGELES--May 16, 2000--Southern California gasoline prices have dropped nearly ten cents in one month, according to the monthly Automobile Club of Southern California Fuel Gauge Report. California prices fell by nearly 10 cents while the national average, is relatively unchanged from April. The price reductions are a result of OPEC's March agreement to boost oil production.
The May average price of regular self-serve unleaded in Southern California is $1.662 compared with $1.757 on April 18. The "lowest" of the high gas prices in Southern California this month can be found in Huntington Beach, La Habra and Van Nuys where the average price for a gallon of self serve unleaded is $1.553, $1.582 and $1.587 respectively. Premium grade gasoline remains higher than $2 per gallon in only two cities -- Bishop and El Centro.
The May statewide average is $1.684 -- down from $1.783 -- on April 18. The average retail price of regular unleaded gasoline in California peaked in early March at $1.79 -- an all-time high, according to weekly surveys of 38 California stations by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Travelers to northern California can expect to pay an average of $1.86 in San Francisco, which is 6 cents lower than April. Las Vegas has an average of $1.72 down from $1.80 a month ago. The May national average is $1.49 cents per gallon -- unchanged compared with April, yet three cents higher than one week ago.
Although fuel prices remain high, the downward movement of prices in April and May prior to the start of the summer driving season is encouraging for motorists and the United States vacation travel industry, said the Auto Club. However, Southern Californians still can expect to pay prices that are an average of 10 cents higher than a year ago.
Prices have dropped despite two forces that had the potential to increase prices. The first has been the industry's normal seasonal switch to summer grade fuels -- which usually means higher wholesale prices following the final draw down of winter grade inventories.
The other was a six-day strike just concluded in Norway that prevented oil from being loaded on tankers. Norway is the globe's second largest oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia and the disruption caused crude prices to rise to $28 per barrel, their highest level since March. With the Norwegian strike concluded and the winter/summer inventory switch accomplished, the U.S. gasoline market should be entering a period of price stability.
In Southern California, the averages for regular and premium grades of gasoline are listed below: Imperial County El Centro 1.843 2.363 Inyo County Bishop 1.819 2.006 Kern County Bakersfield 1.653 1.851 Ridgecrest 1.643 1.763 Los Angeles County Alhambra 1.587 1.819 Arcadia 1.619 1.826 Burbank 1.600 1.796 Culver City 1.669 1.824 Glendale 1.612 1.797 Glendora 1.639 1.739 Inglewood 1.607 1.789 Lancaster 1.598 1.769 Long Beach 1.595 1.815 Los Angeles 1.633 1.813 Manhattan Beach 1.629 1.837 Montebello 1.610 1.819 Santa Monica 1.690 1.832 Van Nuys 1.587 1.768 Whittier 1.590 1.779 Woodland Hills 1.623 1.807 Orange County Anaheim 1.620 1.802 Fullerton 1.610 1.786 Huntington Bch 1.553 1.779 La Habra 1.582 1.769 Laguna Beach 1.678 1.827 Newport Beach 1.679 1.979 San Clemente 1.764 1.999 Tustin 1.629 1.736 Riverside County Blythe 1.789 1.969 Hemet 1.711 1.922 Palm Springs 1.762 1.925 Riverside 1.604 1.790 San Bernardino County Redlands 1.646 1.809 San Bernardino 1.647 1.719 Victorville 1.628 1.764 San Diego County Chula Vista 1.665 1.850 Del Mar 1.719 1.919 Escondido 1.661 1.848 Oceanside 1.672 1.922 San Diego 1.689 1.853 San Luis Obispo County San Luis Obispo 1.701 1.899 Santa Barbara County Lompoc 1.759 1.961 Santa Barbara 1.781 1.984 Santa Maria 1.677 1.839 Tulare County Porterville 1.698 1.889 Visalia 1.674 1.854 Ventura County Ventura 1.680 1.900 So. Calif. Avg. 1.662 1.85
Although prices have fallen from record highs, the Auto Club continues to urge motorists to practice common-sense fuel conservation techniques and to shop aggressively for the lowest price.
Properly maintaining your vehicle is a critical component in reducing gas usage, according to Steve Mazor, principal automotive engineer. Underinflated tires, for example, can cut fuel economy by up to 2% per pound of pressure below the recommended level. Worn spark plugs and dirty air filters also increase fuel consumption. The Club also offers the following gas saving tips:
-- Knowing the correct starting procedure for your car. Racing an
engine to warm it up wastes fuel.
-- Maintaining steady speeds. A car uses extra fuel when it
-- Minimizing the need to brake by anticipating traffic
conditions. Be alert for slow-downs and red lights.
-- Using the air conditioner only when necessary. Air conditioning
reduces fuel economy by about 5%.
The Auto Club's Fuel Gauge Report is based on data gathered from monitoring fuel transactions at 2,800 Southern California gas stations. Oil Price Information Service -- the nation's most comprehensive source of petroleum pricing information, provides the data.