Spike in gas prices hits home for local drivers

  • Karina Carrillo fills up her tank with gas at the Chevron on Aviation Blvd in Santa Rosa, on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Gasoline prices bounced up 26 cents in the last month statewide and in Santa Rosa, an AAA Northern California survey said Tuesday, citing the perennial springtime surge in consumption and the imminent switch to more costly summer-blend fuel.

The upswing — bringing the average price in Santa Rosa to $3.84 a gallon — follows the "typical yearly trend" of fuel costs rising in spring, peaking during the summer and decreasing through the fall, the AAA said.

Energy analysts expect gas prices to climb over the next month due to "seasonal refinery maintenance and the required switchover to produce summer-blend gasoline," said Cynthia Harris, an AAA Northern California spokeswoman.

Unanticipated refinery maintenance and escalating "geopolitical tensions with Russia" could add to the price inflation, she said.

Bennett paid $32.30 for about eight gallons of gas, but she's not buying the explanations.

"I think there's a monopoly on gas," she said. "The big gas companies collude and set the prices. It's whatever they can get away with."

Prices at Santa Rosa area gas stations ranged from a low of $3.49 for a gallon of regular up to $4.09 at the Airport Boulevard Chevron, according to the website GasBuddy.com.

Thirty stations were below the area's $3.84 average; 13 were above it.

Jeff Reed of Willits put $40 worth of the $4.09 gas into his Dodge Ram pickup.

"Nothing surprises me any more with petroleum prices," he said. "It gets to be a grin and bear it type of thing."

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