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California gas prices finally fall below $4 a gallon

Gas prices in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area have fallen nearly 20 cents since a month ago, AAA says.
Gas prices in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area have fallen nearly 20 cents since a month ago, AAA says.
(Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

California drivers increasingly can put $4-a-gallon gasoline in the rearview mirror, at least for now.

The Golden State’s average retail price for regular gasoline fell 1.6 cents to $3.995 a gallon Friday, according to auto club AAA. It’s the first time the average slipped below $4 threshold since Sept. 28.

Gas prices in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area are still higher than the statewide average, at $4.032 per gallon of regular, but they have fallen as well — down nearly 20 cents since a month ago, according to AAA.

As often happens, the fuel shortage — brought on by a slew of refinery upsets — was solved from far away. A flotilla of cargoes arrived over the past few weeks from South Korea, Europe and storage terminals in the Caribbean, adding supply and bringing down wholesale prices that in Los Angeles had jumped to more than $1 a gallon over futures.

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As of Friday, spot prices for California-grade gasoline were just 12.5 cents a gallon over New York futures contracts, the smallest premium since Aug. 22. Prices are likely to keep falling as refineries run harder and the drop in wholesale markets filters down to the retail level.


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