While much of the nation is enjoying sub-$2-a-gallon gasoline, Sacramento gas prices rose for a third consecutive week.
National gas price tracker GasBuddy.com said Monday that the average retail price of gasoline in the area was $2.57 a gallon, up 3.2 cents from last week and an increase of 12 cents over the past three weeks. The average price is up 3.2 cents from a year ago.
Nationwide, GasBuddy said the average at-the-pump cost of gas is slightly less than $1.99 a gallon, a byproduct of plentiful supplies and low crude-oil prices.
Allison Mac, a Los Angeles-based petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said the recent spikes in Sacramento and throughout California were tied to a flurry of breakdowns and “maintenance issues” at multiple refineries in the state that produce the specific blend of gas required in California. That included refinery disruptions at a Chevron facility in El Segundo and Tesoro facilities in Martinez, Carson and Wilmington.
“Supply is still tight. I predict that prices should taper off by the end of this week as imports start to pick up and the refinery issues start to be fixed,” Mac said Monday.
Sacramento-area prices are actually far below the state average price of $2.87 a gallon. The state average is being driven by high costs in Southern California. The average price of gas Monday in Los Angeles, for example, was nearly $3.07 a gallon.
In San Francisco, the average on Monday was $2.81 a gallon.
Analysts noted that the relatively high price of gas in the Golden State has prevented the national average price from plunging even lower.
Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said Monday that the national average price of gasoline is more than “20 cents lower than where we started 2015. The good news is that we could see even more price drops before the seasonal lift that will likely begin as we push toward spring.
“…Gasoline demand will likely move lower now with the holidays behind us, putting (more) downward pressure on gasoline prices.”