Friday, February 25, 2011
Retail gasoline prices surged in San Diego this week. The wholesale price jumped 24 cents a gallon and more increases are expected.
Gas prices are at record levels for this time of year. The Utility Consumer's Action Network tracks fuel prices at hundreds of local filling stations. UCAN's average price for a gallon of regular climbed to just over $3.60. That's the highest price ever reached in February.
"The unrest in Libya is is pushing up the price of oil," said UCAN's Charles Langley. Refineries are also switching their fuel blends to a summertime mixture that reduces air pollution.
"That newer fuel actually requires more oil per gallon of gasoline, about six 6 percent more, and so that creates another supply restriction which can bump up the price a little bit," he said.
Refineries are raking in the profits during the current surge, while independent gas stations are struggling to compete against branded competitors.
"You're buying gas, and your wholesale price after you pay taxes and everything is actually higher than the price of the retailer across the street that's flying a Shell brand name or an Arco flag," Langley said.
Gas prices are the highest they have been since the price peaked at $4.62 cents a gallon in the summer of 2008.