Fuel Gas

David R. Baker
Published 4:03 pm, Saturday, November 16, 2013

Californians usually pay more for gasoline than do drivers in other states.

But not this much more.

Throughout this summer and fall, California’s gasoline prices have hovered about 40 to 45 cents per gallon above the national average. The difference has sometimes reached 50 cents.

In most years, it’s more like 30 to 35 cents.

The increase hasn’t received much attention, largely because gasoline prices in California and the rest of the country have been remarkably stable this year.

For most of 2013, California’s average price for regular has ranged between $3.90 and $4.10 per gallon, avoiding the dramatic price swings that have plagued the state in the past. At no point this year has the state’s average approached its record of $4.67, set in October 2012.

“We are quite a bit higher than national right now, but by California standards we’re doing pretty well,” said Cynthia Harris, spokeswoman for AAA of Northern California.

On Friday, the state’s average for regular stood at $3.59, as tracked by AAA. The national average was $3.20. Prices throughout the country are dropping, as they often do in the fall.

Several factors conspired to increase the difference between California’s prices and the nation’s, a difference sometimes referred to as the “California premium.” A midsummer state tax change boosted the premium by a few pennies. A glut of gasoline in other parts of the country helped cut prices there but not here.

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