The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Inland Empire dropped 1.2 cents today to $4.618, the eighth consecutive decline following a six-day streak of increases, but the cost to fuel up remains high.
The average price in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has dropped 7 cents over the past eight days, including nine-tenths of a cent on Monday, after rising 52.4 cents over the previous six days to a record high of $4.688, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
The average price is 6.9 cents less than one week ago, but 48.8 cents more than one month ago and 78 cents higher than one year ago.
"Gas prices are definitely not coming down with the same ferocity that they went up," Marie Montgomery Nordhues of the Automobile Club of Southern California said. "In fact, they haven't even yet dropped below the previous all-time record prices we saw in 2008. Some significant declines are expected and we don't know why they haven't happened yet."
But further price drops may occur in coming days as gas stations’ expensive inventory runs dry.
“We hope to see some significant price drops …, but they will only come after gas stations are able to sell off the expensive fuel …,” Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring said.
before the previously scheduled Oct. 31 sales date, an action the governor said would increase gas supplies up to 8-10 percent.
The move was prompted by spiking gas prices that the governor said were threatening "significant economic disruption, and serious harm to public safety and welfare."
California's wholesale gasoline market may have gone into a "panic" over fuel supplies. Spring said the rising prices followed a power failure at the ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery and closure of a Chevron pipeline that moves crude oil to Northern California early this month.
Other pressure on the state's gas market includes local refineries
dropping production levels, energy companies exporting fuel to Mexico and other countries, and allowing inventory to dwindle in anticipation of switching over to production of winter blend gasoline, Spring said.
--City News Service and Toni McAllister contributed to this report.