As Gas Reaches $4 '

Average price of unleaded regular crosses threshold in San Francisco, elsewhere

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

SAN FRANCISCO -- The average price of gasoline has broken the $4 mark in San Francisco, according to AAA of Northern California. The statewide average price for a gallon of unleaded is $3.91, but even that price is 52 cents higher than a year ago. In addition to San Francisco's record-setting average, both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo have also earned the dubious distinction of holding $4 averages for unleaded regular gasoline.

"Motorists have been unhappily preparing for the day when the average price in San Francisco would break the $4 mark," said AAA of Northern California spokesperson [image-nocss] Michael Geeser. "Now that it's here, the next question is, how high will it go?"

The planned maintenance period for California refineries in which gasoline is reformulated for the warmer summer months ahead is now complete; however, there are still refineries coming back on line, which has had an effect on the amount of supply throughout the state, according to the California Energy Commission.

Officially, the average price in San Francisco reached the $4 mark on Saturday, April 26. It remained there through the weekend.

"While gas prices may drop a penny or two between now and Memorial Day, real relief for consumers most likely won't be realized until the end of summer," Geeser added.

"Gas prices are insane and they will continue to increase which is the scariest part. I am sure by the summer it will increase to almost $5 a gallon [for regular unleaded]," Iza Zhivago, a 30-year-old account manager who lives in the Bay Area suburb of Concord, Calif., told CSP Daily News. "Gas is a necessity so everyone will pay the price for it, but I'm finding that we have to budget a lot better during the month and adjust our lifestyles a little with the increase in the gas prices."

And Tom Robinson, president, Rotten Robbie, San Jose, Calif., told CSP Daily News, "We saw gas prices go over $2, then $3 and now into the mid- and higher-$3 range. They always come back down. There are reasons why they should stay the way they are, but then either demand comes off or supply increases—one of the two—and then prices go down again."

The average nationally passed $3.60, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Monday.

The $4 threshold is being crossed in other locations, as well. For example, prices haverisenpast the $4 mark at some stations in the Chicago area, reported WREX-TV. And the $4 mark has been shattered in New York City's northern suburbs, said the Associated Press. The Westchester Department of Consumer Protection said five stations in Westchester are charging more than $4 for regular.

The highest price was $4.099 at a Shell Station in Pound Ridge. Other stations charging more than $4 were CITGO in Elmsford, Mobil in Hartsdale, Mobil in Mount Kisco and Shell in Rye. The survey found the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Westchester was $3.86. That's 34 cents more than in the previous survey, conducted April 8.

In Rockland County, the highest price for regular was $4.099 at a CITGO station on the Palisades Parkway in Orangetown.

[Editorial Note:Click here to view the February CSP magazine cover story on $4 gasoline. Also, watch for extended coverage of wholesale fuel and street pricing in CSP magazine's May issue and for more insight into the nation's economy and its effect on c-stores in June.]

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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