Gas prices keep falling in Los Angeles and California — and they could continue to drop
Gasoline prices in the Los Angeles area and across California continued to fall Tuesday, after reaching record highs in many regions last week amid refinery outages across the state.
In Los Angeles, the average price of gas Tuesday fell by about 4 cents from the day prior, to $6.36 a gallon, a significant day-over-day drop that the metro area hasn’t seen in about a decade, said Marie Montgomery Nordhues, a spokesperson for the Southern California branch of the American Automobile Assn. She said the last time L.A. had this large of a one-day price drop was “almost exactly 10 years ago” when then-Gov. Jerry Brown had also recently switched the state to its winter-blend gas early, as Gov. Gavin Newsom did last week following steep price increases due to gas supply issues.
Experts say the state’s winter-blend is easier and cheaper for refineries to produce, though still specific to California’s more stringent environmental regulations.
Because of a California-specific blend of gasoline and a market moving away from fossil fuels, the state remains vulnerable to drastic price increases because policy makers haven’t taken action to address the problem.
Los Angeles-area gas prices are down almost 14 cents from the region’s all-time high last week, when the average price for a gallon of regular gas spiked to $6.49 on Oct. 5, according to AAA. Prices in Southern California have continued to fall since that record-setting price last week, and Nordhues said she is “pretty optimistic” the region will see continued decreases.
“Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices are now lower than they were when this price spike first started in earnest on Sept. 20, when the Los Angeles average pump price was $5.46,” Nordhues said in a statement Tuesday. “Current wholesale price levels, if the trend holds, would seem to indicate that prices should drop by at least a dollar a gallon, although it’s hard to say how long that will take.”
Average gas prices statewide also dropped by about 4 cents Tuesday, to $6.29 — even as nationwide gas prices inched upward, an outcome of rising demand and higher oil prices after OPEC+ decided to decrease production last week. Still, California gas prices remain significantly above those in other states, and more than $2 higher than the national average, which on Tuesday was $3.92, according to AAA. No other state in the U.S. had an average price above $6 Tuesday, though Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii were all above $5.
One-time payments ranging from $400 to $1,050 will arrive starting Friday. The state will spend $9.5 billion as part of the tax refund program.
Orange County drivers are paying about 5 cents less than they were Monday, with prices dropping to $6.27 Tuesday, according to AAA. San Diego prices fell by about 4 cents, to $6.30, down from a high last week of $6.44. Riverside and San Bernardino counties also saw about a 5-cent drop Tuesday. Ventura County saw prices fall only by about 3 cents Tuesday, to 6.35.
Almost every region in California saw decreasing prices Monday, part of a downward trend since last week. Bay Area counties had prices dip by a few cents Tuesday: San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland are all down by about 5 cents to $6.50, $6.33 and $6.34, respectively.
“Gas prices in California are finally cooling off, as more refineries come back online after undergoing maintenance and the switch to cheaper winter blends takes effect,” said Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson.
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