Motorists deal with record prices at pump |

Motorists deal with record prices at pump

As gasoline prices soar to record highs throughout California, and drivers refueling in the Truckee-Tahoe area pay top dollar, speculation continues over whether prices at the pump will reach $4 a gallon.

On Tuesday, the statewide average cost of regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.50 per gallon, an increase of 38 cents per gallon over the last three weeks, said Sean Comey, a spokesman for AAA of Northern California, in a written statement.

Crude oil hit a new record high of over $100, and the average cost for consumers refueling with regular unleaded in the North Lake Tahoe region is $3.67 ” a few cents higher than San Francisco and Sacramento.

“We may not have seen the worst of it yet,” Comey said. Even if fuel costs level off in the next few months, the Truckee-Tahoe region could see prices spike to nearly $4 by summer, said Michael Geeser, a AAA spokesman for Nevada.

“Until we see the value of the dollar stabilize, crude oil prices will remain high,” Geeser said. “We’re already 50 to 60 cents higher than we were at this time last year, which means by the end of spring or beginning of summer, we could be looking at record high prices again.”

But Geeser said the good news is consumers may start to consider alternative fuels.

“I think we’ve already seen a change in attitude where people perhaps aren’t driving as far or are taking a closer look at purchasing hybrids and that sort of thing,” Geeser said.

Ronnie Colby with Truckee Biofuels said if gas prices continue to burn a hole through pocketbooks, his company may see a boost in business.

Blended biodiesel at Truckee Biofuels is currently 10 cents cheaper per gallon than regular diesel at local gas stations.

“The $4 a gallon mark is the magic number, it has great psychological value,” Colby said. “Everything that I’ve seen to date is that consumers won’t change their habits until they stand to save some money, and now I think the price could be a motivating factor for some.”

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