SAN FRANCISCO — It seems there is simply no relief for Bay Area motorists when they go to fill up the tank. The cost of a gallon of unleaded was inching toward all-time record highs Wednesday morning with no immediate relief in sight.
According to analysts, the all-time highest cost for a gallon of unleaded gas across the state was $6.44 set on June 14th. On Wednesday, the state average was $6.42, but the Bay Area has never been average.
GasBuddy.com reported that in San Jose, the price of a gallon of unleaded jumped a stunning 30 cents just since Monday to $6.498.
The story was the same in San Francisco where prices leaped 25 cents to $6.36. While in Oakland, the price at the pump also jumped 25 cents to $6.49.
But there were deals to found according to GasBuddy.
At the Valero station on 19th Ave in San Francisco the price of a gallon of unleaded was $5.09; at the 76 Station on Valencia it was $5.19; at the Safeway in Antioch it was $5.22 and at the Arco station on Redwood Highway in Mill Valley is was $5.35.
Click to find a deal near your home.
Several factors seem to be fueling the surge including a drop in supply.
“Some West Coast states saw prices rise 35 to 55 cents per gallon in the last week as refinery issues continued to impact gasoline supply, which fell to its lowest level in a decade in the region, causing prices to skyrocket,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “While I’m hopeful there will eventually be relief, prices could go a bit higher before cooling off.”
The Los Angeles area was also experiencing dramatic increases.
“This week saw the most significant gas price increases since they jumped 77 cents in one week in March. Local wholesale gasoline prices are now 35 cents higher than their all-time record reached in June, when gas prices climbed to an all-time record average of $6.46 in Los Angeles,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Until the state receives significant amounts of imported gasoline and local refineries are fully operational again, we will likely continue to see pump price increases.”
ordered state officials to lift restrictions on producing cheaper winter blends of gasoline to slow the steep increase.
Under federal law, refineries are required to switch to blends that limit emissions from May 1 to September 15. However in California, the switch back to winter blends does not take place generally until Oct. 31.
Summer blends are more expensive to produce so they drive up higher retail prices at the pump.
But Severin Borenstein, of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, says the move won’t bring immediate relief.
“Switching to winter blend generally can give us a 5-10 percent in supply that increase should be enough to bring prices down,” he told KPIX. “But we are in for some high prices through October and we probably won’t get to completely get rid of this price spike until late in the month or next month.”