Sacramento-area gas prices climbing the ladder

Sacramento-area gas prices, which energy analysts expected to begin declining with the approach of the Independence Day weekend, are being stubborn.

Price tracker GasBuddy.com, which surveys more than 700 regional gas outlets daily, said the average retail price of gas in the area rose nearly 4 cents over the past week to $4.01 a gallon. The current average is a whopping 19.5 cents higher than a year ago and about a penny higher than last month.

The first week of June saw the area’s average gas price fall below $4 a gallon for the first time since mid-April. The resurgence has been blamed, in part, on a rush of speculation in crude oil markets. Crude has been trading at more than $105 a barrel in recent weeks, even though oil shipments out of Iraq have not yet been seriously disrupted by tensions there.

Nationally, the average pump price did not budge from the previous week, staying at $3.68 a gallon – 3.5 cents higher than last month and 17.7 cents higher than this time last year.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said that the national average will likely be “the most expensive July 4 at the pump since 2008.”

DeHaan said the “good news is that we’re seeing signs that the peak price we hit last week is starting to unwind, but with July 4 just days away, motorists shouldn’t be expecting any big retreats in price before the weekend.”