You might be getting confused - and understandably so. After the sharp run-up in March, area gas prices fell pretty substantially, only to take off a couple of weeks ago. Now, they're falling. Nationally, prices seem out of sync with what folks on the West Coast are paying. What gives? From the NYT:
A spokesman for AAA Washington, Dave Overstreet, said that spring can often be the cruelest season for gasoline on the West Coast, which is largely cut off from the pipeline and refining system that spiders up from the Gulf of Mexico. The Cascade Range here in the Pacific Northwest and the Sierra Nevada in California mark a kind of boundary from the rest of the nation, he said, in gasoline economics.
Refineries in California also routinely reduce production in the spring, preparing for the summer fuel blends mandated by California regulators. And supplies in Washington and Oregon have been further crimped by the shutdown of Washington's biggest refinery -- Cherry Point, owned by the oil giant BP -- after a fire in February. A spokesman for BP said on Tuesday that the plant was restarting, but would take some time to resume full production.
The good news is that L.A. prices are coming down again - slowly. An average gallon of regular is $4.332, according to the Auto Club, which is down almost seven cents from a week ago but still up 13 cents from a month ago. From Auto Club:
"Gas prices are fortunately decreasing by a penny a day or more right now, but we're not yet seeing any stations with prices under $4 a gallon as was the case earlier this month," said Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring. "The Auto Club is projecting a slight increase of 1.6 percent in the number of holiday travelers this weekend. Even though prices are higher than they've ever been for this holiday, we are seeing more activity for travel than during the recession years of 2008 and 2009."