by Bob Hamilton on 03/04/2008, 04:07 PM

Tags: gasoline

AAA Reports Statewide Price Up 38 cents in 3 Weeks
SAN FRANCISCO, March 4, 2008- California drivers are now paying a record high price for gasoline, according to AAA of Northern California, which tracks fuel prices as a service to consumers. 
The statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is now $3.50, an increase of 38 cents per gallon in the last three weeks. Today’s price is 58 cents per gallon more than the same time last year. The previous record was $3.49, set on May 9, 2007.
“We’re about 60 cents a gallon above where we were this time last year,” said AAA of Northern California spokesman Sean Comey, “and last year was no bargain at the pump.”
The last record high price came after a series of refinery problems that significantly reduced gasoline production. Right now, there is an ample supply of fuel available in California.
The high cost of crude oil, the raw material from which gasoline is made, is one of the factors in the market that is pushing retail fuel prices up.  Crude oil costs are now more than 60 percent higher than they were at the same time last year.  Crude oil is now trading at over $100 per barrel, a new record high price.
“We may not have seen the worst of it yet,” Comey warned. “It’s particularly troubling from the consumer’s perspective that this is happening at this time of the year, when we often see prices that are relatively low. We usually see fuel costs rise in the spring because demand increases as people tend to drive more in warmer weather and the type of fuel we use in the  summer costs more to make.”
Today’s New Northern California Record High Prices
  • Chico              $3.42
  • Fresno             $3.51
  • Modesto          $3.48
  • Oakland          $3.51
  • Redding           $3.51
  • Sacramento      $3.49
  • Salinas             $3.54        (MORE)
Page 2 of 2: New Record High Gas Prices
  • San Francisco  $3.64
  • San Jose           $3.52
  • Santa Cruz       $3.51
  • Santa Rosa       $3.49
  • Stockton           $3.48
  • Vallejo              $3.47
  • Yuba City         $3.50 (record of  $3.51 set yesterday, 3/3/08)
AAA Tips for Saving Money on Gas
·       Avoid Luxury Gas
Premium fuel costs about 20-25 cents a gallon more than regular. If your car doesn’t need premium grade fuel, don’t buy it.  You’re just wasting your money.  Check your owner’s manual. If the manufacturer does not require high octane fuel, your car will run just as well on the least expensive gas.
·       Shop Aggressively
Since prices change overnight, the gas station that offered the best deal last time you filled up may be the most expensive the next time your tank is empty.  AAA of Northern California has a tool that can help. Located online at, the AAA Fuel Finder has real time information on gas prices at more than 85,000 gas stations throughout the United States.
·       Check Your Tires
For every pound of pressure your tires are under-inflated, you could be losing up to two percent of your gas mileage.  Tires could be down by five pounds or more and still appear to be properly inflated, but you could be buying ten percent more gas than you actually need.  If you don’t want to do it yourself, ask the service technician to check the tires the next time you have your oil changed.
·       Drive Conservatively
A lead foot can add significantly to your fuel bill. By driving the spend limit, accelerating slowly, anticipating stops by taking your foot off the gas pedal and taking excess weight out of your vehicle, you can often improve your fuel economy.
·       Use Discounts
Take advantage of credit cards offer discounts on gas purchases.  With the AAA Rewards Visa card, customers earn 5% back on gas purchased at the pump.  More information is available online at or your local AAA office.
AAA of Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.