Business & Real Estate

Gas prices finally take a break after three-month rise

After three months of steadily rising, gas prices took a break last week, and analysts are hopeful that they might soon retreat from lofty levels.

The average retail price of gasoline in the Sacramento area stayed pegged at $4.11 a gallon over the past week, according to national gas price tracker, which does a daily survey of 720 gas outlets in Sacramento.

That’s still 30.1 cents higher than one year ago and 23.6 cents above last month’s average.

Nationally, prices actually fell a modest 1.4 cents to an average of $3.64 a gallon, up 9.2 cents from last month and 13.4 cents higher than the average price a year ago.

“Finally, the news motorists have been waiting for,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “It appears that, at least for now, the national average has peaked. Since Feb. 7, gasoline prices have been on an upward trajectory in a majority of the U.S.”

With crude oil prices stabilizing and refinery production humming along, DeHaan said current developments indicate a trend of declining at-the-pump costs over the next couple of weeks.

“By Memorial Day, if there aren’t major refinery kinks that develop, we could see the national average dropping into the $3.50 (range), or perhaps even lower,” DeHaan said.