Californians are still facing skyrocketing costs at the pump, with the average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California climbing to a record $6.05 on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s price represents a 19-cent increase in just one week and contrasts sharply to what Californians were paying a year ago, when the average price per gallon was $4.17, according to AAA data.
In the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, the average price per gallon hit $6.09 Wednesday — also a record for the area.
It’s not just California.
The national average cost for regular gas has been steadily climbing, hitting $4.56 on Wednesday.
AAA said the increase is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil, which was hovering near $110 a barrel Monday.
“The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said in a statement. “Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”
Last week, the total domestic gasoline stocks decreased, and so did demand for gas, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.
“Typically, lower demand would put downward pressure on pump prices,” AAA officials said. “However, crude prices remain volatile, and as they surge, pump prices follow suit.”
Also, around this time of year, there is a switch to a more expensive summer blend of gasoline that usually adds seven to 10 cents per gallon, according to AAA.
The Automobile Club of Southern California noted moderate increases in the region’s gas prices last week, when one major supplier went offline for maintenance.
“The Phillips 66 Wilmington refinery has been undergoing planned maintenance for nearly a month, keeping upward pressure on local prices, according to Oil Price Information Service,” Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe said.
Shupe also noted that premium gasoline has become even more expensive compared to regular grade gasoline.
“The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center has found that if your vehicle’s manual just recommends premium fuel and does not require it, the vehicle will operate safely and efficiently with the much less expensive regular gas,” he told residents.
Here are some tips from AAA on how to save money on gas:
- Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
- Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations.
- Slow down and drive at the speed limit. AAA says that reducing freeway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.
- Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel.
- Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Minimize the use of air conditioning.
- Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine.
- Remove unnecessary heavy items from the car.
- Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
- Look into carpooling if you commute a significant distance.
Southern Californians looking to save at the pumps can also use GasBuddy to find gas stations near them with the lowest prices.
And for those in the market for a new fuel-efficient car, AAA has a car guide available online.