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Gas prices in Sonoma County near record levels

Prices ride high at pump

The AAA reported the following average prices for a gallon of regular gasoline Wednesday:

Santa Rosa

Current price: $4.831

Record price: $4.832

Record price date: Oct. 31, 2021

California

Current price: $$4.614

Record price: $4.671

Record price date: Oct. 9, 2012

United States

Current price: $3.403

Record price: $4.114

Record price date: July 17, 2008

With gasoline prices soaring to meet or exceed record levels in Santa Rosa and statewide Wednesday, there was angst at the pumps — and a sizable gap between the cheapest and costliest fuel in town.

“Doesn’t make sense to me, to be honest,” said Steve Johnson, a Santa Rosa area cattle rancher. “There’s no reason for it.”

Johnson, who buys gasoline at 200-gallon bulk prices for his ranch, grimaced at paying $5.05 a gallon for high-octane fuel to fill a gas can at the Arco station at Guerneville and Fulton roads.

Phil Graf of Sebastopol paid $4.66 a gallon — with a 10-cent cash discount — to top off his Chevy S-10 pickup that he admitted is a “gas hog” getting 17 to 20 mpg.

“Before (President Joe) Biden we were energy independent and gas prices were lower,” he said. “Now prices are high and getting higher.”

“The guy in the White House gets the blame,” Graf said.

Biden, speaking at the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, blamed a surge in oil and gas prices on a refusal by OPEC nations to pump more crude, Reuters reported Wednesday.

OPEC is a cartel of 14 nations that control nearly 80% of the world oil reserves.

The group meets Thursday and is expected to confirm plans to keep monthly oil supply increases steady despite calls for an acceleration, Reuters said.

In Santa Rosa, a gallon of regular gas averaged $4.83 on Wednesday, up a quarter from a month ago and virtually tied with the record price set on Sunday, the AAA reported.

A year ago, regular gas was just $3.33 a gallon.

“Simply outrageous,” said Judy Carter of Santa Rosa at the Arco station.

“Forty dollars used to fill the tank. Now all I get is half the tank,” she said.

The statewide average was $4.61 on Wednesday, up 21 cents from a month ago and close to the $4.67 record set in October 2012.

The gap between California and the national average of $3.40 was larger than usual at $1.21, and the nation was far below the record of $4.11 set in July 2008, according to the AAA report.

Crude oil prices, which surged to $85 a barrel last week and dropped to $81 on Wednesday, are to blame for the pain at the pumps, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.

A global energy crunch — including a coal shortage in China that prompted the nation to buy up crude oil — has driven up demand for oil while production has not kept pace, he said.

If oil prices continue to drop, gasoline prices may stabilize or decline, DeHaan said.

Meanwhile, California had the nation’s priciest petrol at $4.60, with Hawaii second at $4.28 a gallon and no other state in the $4 range, according to GasBuddy.

The other 48 states fell between Oklahoma at $3.01 and Nevada at $3.94.

A report by AAA on Monday noted the 2-cent rise over last week was the smallest weekly increase in a month, offering possible consumer relief.

“We have finally seen a little dip in domestic demand for gasoline, which may signal that the seasonal post-Labor Day easing was a little delayed this year,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson.

“And if the recent steady increase in crude oil prices takes a breather too, consumers may benefit at the pump with smaller price hikes,” he said.

GasBuddy’s survey of Santa Rosa prices showed a range from $4.45, for those paying with cash, at Roseland Gas Mart at 921 Sebastopol Road to $5.09 at the Chevron at Aviation and Airport boulevards. Another Chevron at 701 Mendocino Ave. was reported at $5.04, the only other station above $5 a gallon.

Costco and five other stations had the second lowest price at $4.49, some with cash discounts.

The state’s costliest gas was $6.39 a gallon at High Sierra Oasis in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, while the cheapest was $3.60 at Horizon Fuel Center near a casino and hotel in northern San Diego County.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @guykovner.

Prices ride high at pump

The AAA reported the following average prices for a gallon of regular gasoline Wednesday:

Santa Rosa

Current price: $4.831

Record price: $4.832

Record price date: Oct. 31, 2021

California

Current price: $$4.614

Record price: $4.671

Record price date: Oct. 9, 2012

United States

Current price: $3.403

Record price: $4.114

Record price date: July 17, 2008

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