Gasoline prices in Los Angeles fell to a 16-day low on Friday, down nearly 34 cents from a week ago — a trend experts hope will continue.
After hitting record highs earlier this month following statewide refinery outages, gasoline prices in Los Angeles fell to $5.87 on Friday, according to data from the American Automobile Assn. The statewide average fell to $5.83, with California leading the nation in declines last week, dropping more than 30 cents below the previous seven-day average.
“A lot of the issues that led to the price spike have been resolved,” said Patrick DeHaan, an oil and gas analyst for GasBuddy. “It’s been a really nice drop, and pretty quick really.”
Barring drastic changes in the market, De Haan said he expects prices to continue to fall in Los Angeles and California.
“We haven’t come to the end yet and gas prices will continue to fall,” De Haan said. “If everything stays consistent, we’ll drop another 25 to 50 cents.”
Doug Shupe, a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California, was unwilling to make specific estimates on the extent of the price drop, but agreed with De Haan’s assessment. that prices should continue to fall, especially if gasoline demand remains weak and oil prices hold. slippage.
“Now that those refineries are back online, it’s driving down prices at the pump,” Shupe said. “The question is how far will they go? … Right now we’re looking to lower prices at the pumps this weekend and next week.”
However, California prices remain about $2 above the national average, which fell to $3.82 on Friday, according to AAA. And average prices in Los Angeles and the state are still historically high, about 30 cents above where they were a month ago, and more than a dollar above where they were a year ago. one year old, by AAA.
President Biden this week touted the release of more than 15 million barrels of oil from the national stockpile, as part of an ongoing effort to keep prices low. But De Haan called it just a “re-announcement” of the administration’s previous plans, doubting it would have a major impact on gas prices since the market was already expecting the move.
And while gasoline prices have continued to fluctuate, the mostly renewable, cleaner-burning ethanol fuel known as E85 has remained significantly lower than regular gasoline, about 70 cents less. expensive per gallon nationwide, according to AAA data. E85, or flexible fuel, costs Americans an average of $3.15 a gallon, a cheaper price for drivers with certain engines designed for the fuel mixture, usually marked with a yellow gas cap.
“E85 prices have remained relatively constant and relatively low,” De Haan said. “It’s not subject to the same bottlenecks as traditional gasoline.”
But, he says, there’s still a lot of hesitation to make the switch, and most vehicles on the road aren’t built for the mix.
Shupe, however, outlined ways for all drivers to maximize their fuel purchases — like checking tire pressure, lightening vehicle loads and keeping up to date with car maintenance — regardless of current prices. .
“We want to incorporate energy efficiency into their daily routine,” Shupe said. But, he said, he also remains “hopeful that the factors are in place to see even more declines”.
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