Bay Area gas prices continue to climb

Average gas prices in California are nation's highest

As California's average gas prices become the nation's highest, Bay Area motorists will be paying an average of 48 cents more per gallon of gasoline now compared to last month, a AAA spokesman said.

Gas prices are averaging $3.96 per gallon for the Bay Area this month, compared to February's $3.48 per gallon average, according to the AAA. Californians can expect to pay an average of $3.91 per gallon of gas, an increase of 50 cents from Feb. 8, according to the AAA.

"Largely due to unrest in the Middle East, investors have been willing to speculate that prices will increase further and that they will be able to make a profit on the product they are purchasing today," AAA spokesman Matt Skryja stated in a news release.

Until this uncertainty is removed from the market, crude oil and gasoline prices will rise in the coming days and weeks, Skryja stated the release.

The national average per gallon of gas is $3.52, which has increased by 40 cents from February's prices, according to the AAA. As prices rise, so do calls for President Obama to tap into the strategic petroleum reserve, an emergency stockpile of crude oil that the United States uses to protect the country from petroleum supply interruptions, AAA officials said. This reserve is designed as a tool to replenish domestic energy shortages, but AAA officials said that recent price increases have been driven by investor demands, not traditional supply and demand factors.

AAA recommends that consumers shop aggressively to find the lowest price for gas. The organization offers cell phone text alerts for low gas prices in local neighborhoods. Consumers can sign up for these alerts at

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by bike to work
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

Quit harassing the bicyclists! By biking instead of driving, they are reducing the demand for gasoline and helping to reduce gas prices.

Of course, that assumes that consumer demand has something to do with pricing. Oil price speculators think they can manipulate prices regardless of supply and demand.

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

Let the whining begin, along with attempts to blame anyone except the face in the mirror.

Like this comment
Posted by Blame the fish!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

Okay, then I'll start:

I blame the dumb dolphins for washing up dead in the Gulf of Mexico, and all the shrimp, after just be tossed with a little oil dressing.

From our buddies at BP.

If we followed Carter's post embargo policies from the late 70's, we'd have been energy independent 10 years ago. Reagan dismantled those policies the moment he took office.

So I guess I shouldn't blame the dolphins, after all.

Like this comment
Posted by Happy biker chick
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

Our family has been trying to drive less and use more footpower when we are making short, local trips. Bicycling is often faster...and it is good for our family's pocketbook and our health.

Stop driving to the gym to spin and get on a bike! Get exercise in the fresh air and connect with our beautiful community. When I made this change I was surprised that it cost me almost no additional commute time. I also lost ten pounds really quickly and saved a lot of gas money! Hurray!

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

There are two ways to accommodate a shortage - ration, by price or fiat, or increase production. Unfortunately, it has been government policy to ration. No new refineries in 30 years, denial of drilling permission almost every where, funny additives that reduce mileage. There are arguments against almost everything, but the precautionary principle votes for no expansion.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Do I recall correctly that last year we did away with California sales tax on gasoline? (as a percentage of transaction)

Like this comment
Posted by bike rider, train lover
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:21 am

@Watler_E_@allis-- I just wanted to remind you that those "funny additives" applied to our gasoline are meant to reduce and control air pollution produced by automobile emissions. We should be thanking the gasoline price increases because they may help all of us breath easier. Have you ever noticed that there is much less smog on the weekends and especially Sundays? It seems to correlate with fewer drivers out on the roads.

Congrats to Happy Biker chick! Very clever and efficient exercise switch.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2011 at 7:23 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Biker, the majority by far of Bay Area trips are by auto. The reduction in auto usage by bike substitution is a poof in the wind.
The "funny additives" are meant to control air pollution, but they don't. Just like that other funny additive that poisoned our ground water for a dozen years. The air pollution control boys cost us 50 cents a gallon for essentially no reduction in air pollution and significant reduction in mileage = more gas consumption. Modern car engine controls do the real work. The bug juice is just eyewash.

Like this comment
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm

No New Refineries in 29 Years? There Might Well Be a Reason
NYT, May 9, 2005

"The business of turning crude oil into gasoline, jet fuel or heating oil has rarely been a lucrative proposition. It has dismal profit margins compared with its more glamorous cousin, exploration. It is highly cyclical and fairly unpredictable, because demand for gasoline swings sharply by season. And because of low oil prices over the past decades, refiners have been forced into cutthroat competition that has driven many of the smaller refiners out of business."

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Reality check, we have coped by importing refined fuel, at a cost higher than home brew. Siting problems for a new refinery make it unlikely.

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