Gas prices, which have been soaring toward $4 a gallon recently, temporarily stalled over the past week, but analysts said motorists are not out of the woods yet.
The average retail price of gas in the Sacramento area rose less than a penny over the past week to settle at $3.80 a gallon, according to national gas price tracker GasBuddy.com, which does a daily survey of 720 gas outlets in the area. Thats still 23.3 cents higher than a month ago but down 9.6 cents from this time last year.
Nationally, the average retail price of gas over the past week was virtually unmoved, coming in at $3.51 a gallon, up 10.2 cents from last month but 13 cents lower than a year ago.
Analysts noted that crude oil prices retreated below the $100-a-barrel threshold, but they warned that disruptions in refinery maintenance and switchovers to pricier spring-summer gas production could send prices higher in coming weeks.
The panic at the pump slowed considerably in the last week, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. A cooling in oil prices during the previous week heavily influenced last weeks quieter increase. While oil prices havent moved much higher, we are starting to see more chatter about refinery incidents as more of them finish maintenance and get back online. This can lead to spikes in gasoline prices if several refineries see unexpected outages or longer than normal return to production times.
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