By Ronald D. White
11:52 AM PST, January 24, 2013
California gasoline prices have quietly crept close to their record for this time of year. But there are some positive signs for the state's motorists in the fuel supply numbers.
After most recently bottoming out at the not so low price of $3.522 on Dec. 24, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California has been mostly on the rise.
The current average for the state is $3.651 a gallon, up nearly 13 cents, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. That's also just 6.6 cents a gallon short of the state's record for Jan. 24 of $3.717.
But there are some indications that the state's fuel situation is better than it was at this time last year.
Then, all it took was a power outage at a refinery in Washington State (last February) to send West Coast and California gasoline prices well above $4 a gallon.
California's refinery output of the state's expensive blend of gasoline is running close to 2012 levels at slightly more than 5.8 million barrels a week, according to the California Energy Commission.
More importantly, California's gasoline supplies are 13.3% higher than they were at this time last year, at just under 7 million barrels. That's also an "above average" supply compared to the state's most recent five year average, the Energy Commission said.
Last October, when the state's gasoline prices spiked to a record $4.671 a gallon, the state's supplies were near the bottom of the five year average.
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