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States Refinery Issues Force Small Price Hike
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Average retail gasoline prices in Modesto have risen 1.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.42/gallon Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 201 gas outlets in Modesto. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $1.99/gallon, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Areas nearby Modesto and their current gas price climate include

Stockton - $2.47/gallon, up 2.0 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.45; Oakland - $2.64/gallon, up 3.3 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.61; San Jose - $2.65, up 4.3 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.61/gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in Modesto during the past week, prices Sunday were 14.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 11.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 8.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 39.4 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“With the national average price of gas slipping below $2 on Saturday, the holiday season continues to reward most consumers at the pump, but the Grinch turned up in California replacing price declines with price spikes,” said Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “California’s hikes tie directly to issues at two refineries with combined capacity exceeding 400,000 barrels per day. Consequently, California’s average price has climbed by 8 cents per gallon while the rest of the country for the most part sees declines.”

Also, GasBuddy officials project that consumers will save $1.6 billion on gas over their year-end travels compared to last year. According to the annual GasBuddy holiday travel survey, 88 percent of those heading out of town will be doing so by car, with a majority (66 percent) driving at least 200 miles round trip.

It wasn’t that long ago when motorists were paying well over $3 per gallon during the winter months, a far cry from today’s national average of $2.01, which has risen after hitting $1.99. Gas prices during the holidays haven’t been this cheap since 2008, when few Americans noticed the low prices amidst the Great Recession.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … in 2008!” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “The extra savings and cheer will certainly spread as we close out the year. There has not been a better time in years for motorists to extend their trips and travel farther, as sub-$2 per gallon gas can be found at almost 70 percent of stations in the country.”

The national average is likely to tick slightly higher throughout the busiest travel period of the year as prices have moved higher in the Great Lakes and continue to climb in California. However, GasBuddy expects this upward trend to be temporary; lower prices will eventually hit pumps into the New Year as oil prices drift lower thanks to weakening demand for petroleum.

GasBuddy 2015 Travel Survey Key Findings:

Home for the holidays, no matter the cost. When it comes to holiday travel, money does not always dictate what people decide to do. Only 19 percent of survey respondents said current fuel prices are changing or altering their holiday travel plans. Of course that’s easy to say this year, given we’re seeing the lowest prices in over six years.

What to do with the extra cash? For those who said the drop in gas prices have impacted their travel plans, nearly half (49 percent) said they will be traveling a greater distance, while 23 percent said they will be spending more on holidays gifts, and 11 percent will be spending more on food.

Traffic: the leading cause of holiday stress. Nearly half of consumers find the holidays to be stressful, with traffic being the biggest reason (80 percent), followed by the weather (56 percent), and the extra cost involved (42 percent).

GasBuddy is the premiere source for real-time local gas prices. Founded in 2000, GasBuddy.com developed as an initiative to provide consumers access to local, current gas prices. Through the GasBuddy.com website and the free GasBuddy mobile app, users can find and share gas prices with fellow drivers, saving big money at the pump.