Low Gas Prices to Continue After Summer 

Motorist Ricky Paz tops off at a 76 station in Los Feliz near his job at Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins. Photo by Carl Robinette.

Gas prices nationwide will spike this week after the effects of Hurricane Harvey hit Southern Texas, where many of the nation’s oil refineries are located, August 26th and 27th.

Previously, California gas prices dropped this summer despite industry experts’ early anticipation of high costs at the pump, while Larchmont area prices were consistent with city and state averages of about $3 and as low as $2.90 per gallon of regular unleaded gas in August.

“I suppose you can count me as one of those on the boat that anticipated gas prices might be higher,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com. “And they have turned out otherwise so far. … Things have been relatively mild and that has allowed motorists to take to the roads for yet another summer of cheap gas prices.”

Prices reached a low in late July at an average of about $2.90 per gallon, according to the Automobile Assoc. of America, which consistently ranks Los Angeles among the top 15 most expensive markets for regular unleaded gas.

Prices have since ticked up a bit. And while they remain lower than expected, some Los Angeles drivers say July’s low prices came and went too quickly.

“By far more expensive,” said motorist Ricky Paz about gas prices in August, as he filled up at a station near his job at Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins in Los Feliz.

Paz said he does not go out of his way to find lower prices.

“I just go to whatever’s around me when I need gas,” he said. “If it’s cheaper than everything else around me, I take it.”

The average price per gallon in mid-August was just over $3 according to GasBuddy.com.

Los Feliz and Silver Lake have had several gas stations where average prices were at or below that average.

Motorist Hugo Acosta said he saves on gas by commuting on his Victory motorcycle, and he almost always fills up at the 76 Station at Hillhurst Avenue and Los Feliz Boulevard.

“It’s got good prices and it’s close to where I work. It’s one of the lowest,” Acosta said. “There’s not that many 76 Stations that are this low.”

However, Atwater Village and parts of Hollywood trended slightly higher this summer with some stations regularly hitting the $3.50 mark.

While the growing popularity of hybrid or electric cars has taken a small bite out of gasoline demand, it is still on the rise, according to Gasbuddy.com’s DeHaan.

“Americans are driving more miles than ever,” he said. “It’s almost a guarantee that if it wasn’t for more efficient vehicles that we have today, gasoline demand would be at all-time record highs.”

Accordingly, De Haan said, as it stands gasoline demand is extremely close to all-time highs and is expected to increase over time even as new fuel technology matures.

But despite increasing demand, prices will stay at about $3 per gallon for the near future, said DeHaan, and will even dip slightly in the coming weeks as fall and winter typically see lower prices due to a less expensive formulation used for cooler months.

“The final quarter of 2017 will feature prices that are by and large lower than where they stand today,” said DeHaan.

But once California›s Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 goes into effect November 1st, the state will see a 12-cent tax hike on gas and a 20-cent hike on diesel to help fund road repair.

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