Auburn gas prices drop — a little

Fuel prices dip 32 cents from a month ago, but are 86 cents higher than 2010
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Prices at the pump are not exactly plummeting, but they are dropping. According to AAA of Northern California, the cost of regular unleaded is down 32 cents from a month ago. The average price throughout the state is $3.94, which is still 86 cents higher than a year ago. In Northern California, the average price for a gallon of unleaded is $3.92, down 33 cents from last month. “Gasoline demand is down over last week after it steadily rose for the four weeks prior,” AAA Northern California spokesman Matt Skryja said in a press release. “Speculation about where oil demand might go for the second half of 2011 continues to cause controversy worldwide.” In Auburn, Tuesday’s gas prices ranged from $3.77 at the Foresthill Road Arco to $3.97 at the Beacon on Lincoln Way. At Valero in Old Town where the price was $3.87 cash and $3.93 credit for a gallon of regular unleaded, employee Sameer Walia said the price went down 6 cents last weekend. “(The lower prices) will help as people go on vacation,” he said. “More people will drive with better gas prices.” The 76 station at Highway 49 and Fulweiler was listing $3.94 per gallon as customer Travis Nelson, filled up his car. The fluctuating cost doesn’t impact his driving too much. “Yes, (it has dropped) a fair amount,” said Nelson, who lives in Roseville but works in Auburn. “But you still have to go to work (even when prices are higher).” Investor speculation drives the price as well as supply and demand, he added. Inside, employee Troy Branam said the price has dropped about 20 cents in the past three weeks. “The price was $4.14 for regular,” he said. Customers do notice when the prices goes up or drops. “I don’t think it matters too much (right now) because of the (small) amount,” Branam said. “(Driving habits) depend more on the weather, although it is a mix of both. When it is sunny, people are out doing stuff. When it’s cold and wet and rainy, people stay in their house. But you see more of people like tree trimmers who have to go out and do their job.” At Arco on Foresthill Road just off Interstate 80, employee Dev Singh said the price has come down from a high of $4.15 in April — a 38 cents difference. “In my personal point of view, it’s totally a political game,” Singh said. “For the regular person, it’s still not a good price. It should be about $2.70.” AAA expects the price of crude oil to continue to trend downward because the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was unable to reach a consensus on oil production levels, Skryja said. The Saudi oil minister has now said that his country will meet the needs of the market regardless of the disagreement, according to the press release. Reach Gloria Young at