Summer is travel season. Good times. But in Southern California the warm months can also bring the pain.
California law mandates expensive, summer-blend gas. Demand goes up. And prices usually go up too. And that's just the rosy scenario. If another refinery goes offline, our prices could jump like (a younger) Van Halen.
But this year could be different. Despite the late winter spike in pump prices triggered by the Torrance refinery explosion, global wholesale prices continue to hold gas costs down.
The folks at gas price website GasBuddy.com this week are making the bold statement that "summer’s gasoline prices will bring the most affordable summer months since at least 2005."
Break out the ice chest, because we're going camping.
The site predicts that the summer driving season — Memorial Day through Labor Day — will see gas as low as $2.35 per gallon across the United States. Of course, California gas always costs a little more than the national average. But that's pretty amazing.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, says:
That means more Americans can afford to pack up and go enjoy a summer getaway because the cost of getting there will likely be the lowest since 2005. The latest data from the EIA showed the largest week-to-week buildup of crude oil (10.9 million barrels) since March 2001 and that underscores the downward pressure on fuel prices. So we’re confident in our projection ...
So far so good: The Auto Club of Southern California this week said that area gas prices have been falling for five straight weeks.
"At a time of year when Southern Californians are often paying $4 a gallon for fuel, cheap crude oil and plentiful supplies continue to pull more pump prices below $3 a gallon," the AAA said in a statement.
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The club says the average price of a gallon of gas in L.A. was $3.177 a gallon. (GasBuddy's estimate, above, is not that far off.) Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring:
Southern California supplies are stable despite the temporary shutdown of the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, which is closed while repairs are being made from a February explosion. Oil industry analysts report that most local refinery maintenance has been completed, reducing the risk of further incidents that would lead to another price spike this spring.
Making plans? Take us with you ...