More stable gas prices expected
If gas prices seemed to be climbing every other day in recent weeks, that volatility is about to stabilize some, AAA Northern California reported in its monthly survey.
In the end, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Northern California is $4.17, an increase of 7 cents over the past month — and 22 cents higher than the same time last year, AAA reported.
That is the second highest in the nation.
The average price nationally is $3.84 per gallon, up by 14 cents over last month's survey, and 18 cents more than last year.
"A weaker global economy typically means that demand for crude oil is less than it would be in a stronger economy," AAA Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said in a statement. "Global forces aside, here in the United States, demand for gasoline has been up slightly (higher) the past week."
"Conflicting economic factors last week resulted in little change in oil prices. Continued bearish economic news, both domestically and internationally, pressured prices lower, while tight supplies and rumors of a potential third round of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, designed to stimulate the U.S. economy, pressured prices higher," AAA reported.
"Quantitative easing by the Fed decreases the value of the U.S. dollar, and it is an attempt by a central bank to stimulate an economy by injecting newly created money into the economy. Crude oil futures are traded in U.S. dollars, and as the dollar weakens against foreign currencies, these futures become relatively less expensive to purchase and are a more attractive investment."
AAA expects the national average to decline in the coming months as demand drops off following the busy summer driving period.
During this time, refineries switch from summer-blend to less expensive winter-blend gasoline, AAA reported.
The least expensive average price for unleaded gasoline in Northern California is found in Ukiah, $4.08, while Eureka has the highest average price at $4.42.
The least expensive gasoline in the country is reported in El Paso Texas at $3.50. The highest price, $48 per gallon, is in Chicago, Ill.