Business Autos

Gas prices fall ahead of Labor Day weekend

Southern California gas prices have fallen for 7 consecutive weeks
Gas prices fall prior to Labor Day weekend, AAA reports
Gas prices expected to decline during last quarter of year

Travelers filling up their gas tanks for the Labor Day weekend will have a touch more change to spend on their trips: Prices have dropped.

Southern California has seen seven consecutive weeks of gas-price declines, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area is $3.84 per gallon, 2.2 cents less than last week, 17 cents less than last month, but still a fraction of a penny higher than the same time last year, the auto club said.

The retail state average is $3.86 a gallon for regular, 2.1 cents less than last week.

Still, the auto club recommends that people be mindful of spending needlessly on gas, no matter the price.

Drivers can conserve fuel by driving the speed limit, smoothing out driving to anticipate traffic stops, avoiding traffic if possible, and getting tires properly inflated while they are cold, prior to hitting the road.

Nationally, gas prices peaked in late April at about $3.70 for a gallon of regular gas. Today, the average price is $3.43, according to GasBuddy.com.

“That is the lowest number we have seen nationally for the Labor Day weekend since 2010,” said Tom Kloza, analyst for GasBuddy.com.

But that year, the price was a lot lower -- just $2.67, he said.

Nationally, prices tend to go down starting around Sept. 15 through the end of the year.

California doesn’t always follow that trend. Prices in the state are likely to linger at current levels into October because it uses the more expensive, and less polluting, summer formulation of gas until the end of October, Kloza said.

California prices are expected to decline during the last two months of the year after the state switches to the winter formulation, which is less expensive to refine, he said.

“Summer is gluten-free,” Kloza said, “but there is a lot less expensive flour that you can bake into California’s fuel cake during the winter.”

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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