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Gas prices dropping in California to local driver surprise

Residents say they look for best deals
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Although gas prices are reportedly dropping in California, local drivers say they aren’t seeing that at the pump. According to a recent report by AAA Northern California, gas prices took a drop this month in many parts of the state, but monthly gas pump comparisons in Northern California show slight increases. “According to AAA, all but eight Northern California metro areas tracked by the organization saw an increase at the pump over the past month,” said Matt Skryja, spokesman for AAA Northern California. Skryja said California’s average for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $3.78, the same as July’s average. However, Northern California gas prices are averaging $3.79, which is two cents higher than last month. According to Rowdy Randy’s on High Street, gas prices at the station went up 8 cents Friday to $3.71 a gallon. Auburn resident Brianna Winget said she hasn’t seen gas prices go down. “I don’t think they have, but it would be nice if they did,” Winget said. “I haven’t noticed it at all.” Winget said gas money is a decent part of her budget. “All my friends are the same way,” she said. “They are like, ‘We can’t do that because we have to buy gas this week.’ It’s definitely a large expense.” Winget said she is considering whether it’s cheaper to drive or fly to Las Vegas on an upcoming trip. Shirley Harden, who works in Auburn, said she thinks it’s great if gas prices are indeed on a downward trend, because her daily commute can use up a lot of it. “I have to travel quite a few miles,” she said. “I go over 60 miles a day, so that’s good for me (if prices are going down).” Harden said she has traveled less this summer because of the cost of gas. “I would go more places after I get off work, but I travel so far to go to work every day,” she said. “It’s a real trial.” According to Skryja, drivers can save money on gas if they “shop aggressively for the lowest price.” Harden said although she has stations she frequents, she does try to get the better deals. “Basically I pick certain stations, but a lot of times even if I go to certain stations, if one is cheaper than the other, that is the one I will go to,” she said. Auburn resident Joyce Rask said she thinks it depends on where you go in terms of what gas prices you see. “It depends on where you are,” Rask said. “They are kind of all over the place, but they do seem to be staying under $4, which is a good thing.” Rask said she does try to get errands done all in one trip to avoid using unnecessary gas, but said if something is important enough a person can’t avoid driving to it. “Pretty much if you need to do something, you do it anyway,” she said. “I pay more attention to where I drive and when. I don’t aggressively shop around (for gas). I do pay attention. The Chevron close to where I live is more expensive. I will maybe drive a little farther to get a cheaper price.” Cool resident Shannon Fisher said she thinks gas prices are still pretty high and her family tries to combine their errands and travels all into one trip, one example being where she and her husband combined taking their son to training with the celebration of their wedding anniversary. Fisher said she does try to look for the best deal when it comes to gas prices. “I tend to watch as I drive through town,” she said. “I watch prices of the different stations.” Skryja said investor activity is helping to bring prices down, but it may take some time for drivers to see that. “Investor activity is a major factor that drives oil prices,” he said. “Their recent uncertainty about the strength of the oil market is helping to push oil prices down and gas prices are following. Consumer relief at the pump often lags behind any declines in crude prices, as cheaper oil works its way through the refining and distribution process.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com