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Gas Prices Expected to Taper Off

After a weekend that saw a 50-cent spike in gas prices, analysts say latest figures indicate the worst may be over.

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County again rose to a record high Monday, but the increase of seven-tenths of a cent to $4.703 may indicate that prices will soon fall.

The increase was the smallest during a six-day span that has seen the price rise 50.2 cents, including 3.5 cents on Sunday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price is 51.9 cents more than one week ago, 52.5 cents higher than one month ago and 89.2 cents greater than one year ago. The Orange County average price also rose to a record high for a third consecutive day, increasing four-tenths of a cent to $4.69. It is 52.8 cents higher than one week ago, 53.3 cents above one month ago and 91.3 cents greater than one year ago.

Monday's increase is the smallest during a six-day streak of increases that has pushed the price up by 51.3 cents, including 3.6 cents on Sunday.

Gov. Jerry Brown's order Sunday directing the California Air Resources Board to immediately allow oil refineries to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline, which isn't typically sold until Nov. 1, and the resumption of operations at the ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery are expected to add to the supply of gasoline.

The record prices are the result of whole markets going "into a panic about the adequacy of California fuel supplies'' following a power failure last Monday at ExxonMobil's Torrance refinery and closure of a Chevron pipeline that moves crude oil to Northern California, said Jeffrey Spring of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Other contributing factors include local refiners dropping production levels, exporting supply to Mexico and other countries and allowing inventory
to dwindle in anticipation of switching over to production of winter blend
gasoline, Spring said.

 

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