Locked in place for most of autumn, Sacramento-area gasoline prices rose 3.3 cents over the past week, according to national fuel cost tracker GasBuddy.com.
The rising price trend might continue well into the start of 2017. The good news: California prices have not been climbing as rapidly as at-the-pump costs in most other states.
The current local average retail price of gas is $2.54 a gallon, up 6.4 cents from last month. Meanwhile, the national average price of $2.28 per gallon is up 16.5 cents from one month ago.
GasBuddy noted that the nationwide hike in December gas prices was the highest in six years. By comparison, the current statewide average cost of gas – $2.70 a gallon – is up less than 3 cents this month.
“Overall, the national average price of gas is 28 cents higher than where it was a year ago on this day, and prices in most metros and states across the country are higher, too, with the remarkable exception being California, whose statewide average today is 13 cents lower than last year and the Los Angeles average, believe it or not, is 27 cents less than a year ago,” said Gregg Laskoski, GasBuddy analyst, on Tuesday.
Throughout the fall, California has had ample fuel supplies and few disruptions at refineries. GasBuddy said the national average has been pushed upward by OPEC’s agreement on Nov. 30 to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day in 2017.
“When the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced production cuts … we knew we were likely to see gasoline prices rise almost immediately. There’s never a good time to see gas prices rise, but ahead of the holidays just seems like the worst,” said Patrick DeHaan, another GasBuddy analyst. “Oil prices spiked after OPEC’s production cut agreement was announced, pushing gasoline prices higher in 41 states.”
DeHaan projected that U.S. motorists are likely to see their spending on gasoline rise an average $120 to $180 in 2017 due to production cuts from oil producers.