Gas prices dipping, but not by much in Truckee | SierraSun.com

Gas prices dipping, but not by much in Truckee

Paul Raymore

Motorists looking for a little relief at the pump these days may have reason to be hopeful as gas prices showed a modest decline recently. While the decline represents a savings of just a few pennies per gallon, it is the first encouraging news about fuel prices in a long time. According to a new report by AAA of Northern California, which tracks gas prices as a service to consumers, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in California has dropped to $2.32, a decrease of five cents per gallon from the record high price of $2.37 set on June 1.”It’s a trend in the right direction,” said Sean Comey, spokesman for AAA of Northern California. “We’ve still got a long way to go before anyone filling up their tank will say, ‘Finally things are back to normal.’ But at least we’re not setting a new record high every day.”Since the current trend of falling prices only began recently, prices are generally higher than they were when AAA published its last monthly report on gas prices on May 18. The statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded is one cent per gallon more than it was at the time of the last AAA gas price survey.The lowest price among Northern California cities tracked by AAA is Santa Rosa, where gas costs an average of $2.24 per gallon. The most expensive gas is in Yreka, where the average price is $2.44 per gallon. Throughout Northern California, the average price is $2.32. In the Bay Area, the average price is $2.33.While not included in the AAA survey, gas prices in Truckee are even higher than those in Yreka, with the lowest priced gallon of regular unleaded costing $2.40 per gallon at the Donner Park 76 station on Tuesday. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Truckee was $2.47, according to an informal survey of local gas stations.Two main market forces appear to be responsible for the downward trajectory: crude oil prices and domestic refinery output, Comey said.Crude oil prices have been dropping in response to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ announcement that member nations would increase output to two million barrels per day in July and an additional 500,000 barrels per day in August. Representatives from Saudi Arabia said their country would pump more crude oil if additional supply is needed.According to the California Energy Commission, state gasoline refinery output seems to be operating at or near full capacity recently. U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said he was assured by refiners that they would operate at maximum output this summer to meet demand during the peak driving season.At the same time, energy analysts say global concerns persist about the stability of the supply of crude oil. Continued attacks on foreign workers in Saudi Arabia and tense labor negotiations in Nigeria are fueling anxiety about he reliability of the oil production and distribution network. Volatility in oil producing countries could lead to another round of price increases.The nationwide average price is now $1.98. The most expensive gas in the United States is in Wailuku, Hawaii, where a gallon of regular unleaded costs an average of $2.64. The least expensive gasoline is in Saint Louis, Missouri, where the average price is $1.76 per gallon.The respite from escalating gas prices could be brief. Demand typically increases around the Fourth of July weekend, which often results in higher retail gas prices.”It’s highly unlikely we will see a major reduction in prices before the end of the summer,” Comey warned. “There’s a definite possibility that we could see our fuel costs increase again between now and Labor Day weekend.”