Gas Prices Steady Nationwide Except for Sharp Jump in California

AP Wire Service

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) – Nationwide gas prices held steady for the past two weeks thanks to plentiful supplies and falling crude costs, although California drivers experienced a sharp jolt at the pump, an industry analyst said Sunday.

The average price for gasoline nationally, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.49 per gallon, up less than a penny since the Oct. 23 survey, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide.

“Prices have been on the rise recently on the West Coast, but those rising prices were offset by falling prices in the Gulf and Midwest regions,” Trilby Lundberg said.

In California, the average price for gasoline was $1.56 per gallon, an 8-cent increase in just two weeks, according to Lundberg.

The Automotive Club of Southern California attributed the price hike to a variety of factors, including jitters over a possible war with Iraq and fears of supply interruption following the Nov. 3 Alaskan earthquake.

But Lundberg said the long-term forecast calls for optimism.

“At this time, wholesale prices are falling in all parts of the country, suggesting that retail prices will soon grind to a halt, including California,” she said.

Gas prices have been “extraordinarily steady,” since April, Lundberg said. Prices rose by 4 cents per gallon in late September and early October but the trend soon waned.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.46 per gallon for regular, $1.56 for mid-grade and $1.65 for premium.