Price of fuel up 51 cents
The price of a gallon of gas jumped 51 cents from last month across the state, and by as much as 57 cents in parts of the North State, AAA Insurance reports.
The average price in the 27 Northern California metropolitan survey areas was $4.33 when the survey was released on Tuesday, up 50 cents from the February survey.
It raises the specter of prices eclipsing the $5 mark for the first time come summer, and motorists have little or no influence whether they buy less gas or not.
"Investors' buying activity continues to be the dominate influence that is pushing prices higher," said AAA spokesman Matt Skryja.
"Recent positive economic indicators in the United States and Europe have inspired investors to buy more oil and gas futures, which has helped to push up the price of oil and gas," Skryja said. "However, there may be some relief in sight. ... Concerns over a slowing economy in China and easing tensions with Iran helped pull down the price of oil."
The average price statewide was also $4.36. That is a 51-cent jump from last month, and 40 cents more than it was at the same time last year, AAA reported.
California has the second-highest state average price for regular, unleaded gasoline, topped only by Hawaii and even higher than Alaska, which is third.
The national average price of $3.81, which is up by 30 cents over last month, and 25 cents higher than last year, AAA reported.
The least expensive average price in Northern California can be found in the Marysville and Ukiah survey areas, where the price is $4.25 per gallon.
Eureka has the highest average price at $4.47, which is also the highest price in the lower 48 states.
The average price in the Chico area is $4.26 per gallon, up 51 cents, while the Redding area increased by 46 cents to $4.27, and the Sacramento area climbed to $4.28, up 50 cents.
The Salinas survey area saw an average increase of 57 cents to $4.30 per gallon — the highest increase in the state.
The least expensive gasoline in the country is found in Casper, Wyo., where the average price of regular, unleaded gasoline is $3.20. per gallon.
Hilo, Hawaii, has the highest average price in the nation at $4.61 per gallon.