Average gas prices have hit a high for 2009. According to news reports, prices barely budged over last week in California and the nation but it was enough to hit a yearly high and then to very slightly fall.
In the Eastern Sierra prices ranged from $2.95 per gallon of regular unleaded on the low side and $3.19 on the high side in Bishop and the Owens Valley. In Mammoth Lakes, the price hit right around $3.46 per gallon. Turns out the highest U.S. price was in Death Valley at $4.12 per gallon.
California gas prices rose less than other areas of the nation because California oil refineries had already cut back production ahead of similar moves by refineries in other parts of the nation. Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that the rally in retail gas prices had calmed down. The average price of a gallon of regular in California edged lower by .6 of a cent to $2.98 over the last week. This is down from the state’s high for the year of $3.25 in mid-September.
News reports say that oil prices went up a bit with the latest figure at $79.43 per barrel. Energy pundits say that economic growth numbers out of China encouraged the prices which were also held in check by continuing questions over the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.
State officials pointed to July gas use figures that showed an increase in demand. Though other sources say that refineries have shut down as “demand for fuel remains weak.”