Gasoline prices setting new records

•  Rising by about a penny a day

•  $4.17 per gallon gas now found in California

Gasoline prices are again on the march to new record highs, going up by about a penny a day across most of California. Supply problems are being blamed. California is the state with the highest gasoline price average and there are at least two areas where prices have blasted past the $4 mark. “Prices have been rising by about half a cent a day in most areas,” says Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “Oil industry analysts say that this latest price increase is actually the result of supply problems at California refineries, not the earlier investor speculation that drove up prices in February and March,” Mr. Spring says.

Here are Central Valley market averages on April 4, (driving from south to north) as reported by the American Automobile Association with last week’s (March 28) averages in parentheses and March 21 prices in brackets:

• Bakersfield, $3.628 ($3.606) [$3.581]

• Visalia-Porterville, $3.711 ($3.689) [$3.657]

• Fresno, $3.692 ($3.639) [$3.610]

• Merced, $3.691 ($3.654) [$3.629]

• Modesto, $3.666 ($3.604) [$3.595]

• Stockton-Lodi, $3.659 ($3.597) [$3.577]

• Sacramento, $3.674 ($3.613) [$3.598]

• Yolo, $3.678 ($3.611) [$3.597]

• Chico, $3.602 ($3.565) [$3.561]

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $3.639, which is 3.6 cents more than last week. In San Diego, the price is $3.675, which is 4.5 cents higher than last week’s price.

California’s highest market average price on April 4 is in San Francisco at $3.812, up 4.8 cents in a week’s time. Like other markets, today’s price is an all-time high, according to the Auto Club.

Chico has California’s lowest market average price at $3.602, the AAA says. That’s about a nickel higher than last week’s lowest average, which was in Orange County.

For what may be the nation’s lowest price, you’d have to fill up in the hometown of former President Grover Cleveland, Caldwell, N.J., or in Wallington, N.J., location of the hanging in 1780 of a British spy.

Both cities can boast a gas station charging $2.89 as the price for a gallon of gas, according to the website GasBuddy.com.

New Jersey has the nation’s lowest statewide average price of $3.046 while California has the nation’s highest, at $3.679, the auto club says.

A Mobile station in Needles is demanding $4.17 per gallon for what may be California’s – and the nation’s — highest price, according to GasBuddy. Also over the $4 mark is a station in Idyllwild-Pine Cove, a mountain resort area in Riverside County, which wants $4.09 per gallon.

GasBuddy bases its figures on reports from volunteer “price spotters” reporting specific locations in the U.S. and Canada.

The AAA’s prices are market averages for self-serve regular grade (87 octane) gasoline. They are calculated from credit card purchases.

Not every station is surveyed and not every market is included in either report. Both price surveys note that there can be wide variations within markets.

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