For immediate release: May 23, 2002
Media Contact: Rob Schlichting - 916-654-4989
Energy Commission says gasoline plentiful, cheaper this Memorial Day
Sacramento - Gasoline prices over the upcoming three-day weekend should
be 39 cents less per gallon than they were last Memorial Day.
What's more, the California Energy Commission reports that supplies in
California are plentiful, with inventories of gasoline at refineries
exceeding last year's stockpiles by almost 16 percent.
"California refineries have averaged more than a million barrels of
gasoline a day for the past eight weeks," said Steve Larson Energy
Commission Executive Director. "That's as much as nine percent above
last year's production figures, helping to make fuel plentiful and less
expensive this holiday weekend."
Regular gasoline in California averages $1.56 for the week ending May
20, 2002. Nationally, regular gasoline averages $1.40 per gallon.
Memorial Day traditionally signals the start of the summer driving
season when motorists hit the nation's highways in large numbers,
usually causing gasoline demand to increase and prices to jump.
"This year, however, retail gasoline prices rose earlier, in response to
worldwide increases in the price of crude oil," said Larson. "Prices
have inched down a total of six cents over the past six weeks, dropping
from this year's high of $1.62 a gallon."
Despite this weekend's rosy outlook, gasoline prices are well above the
record low Statewide average of $1.10 a gallon that occurred at the end
of 2001. With that in mind, the California Energy Commission offered
three suggestions for travelers hoping to get the most out of their
gasoline dollars this weekend:
Where possible, shop around for the best prices. Stations across the
street from each other can vary in price by 20 cents a gallon or more,
and stations near the freeway are often the most expensive. Since all
gasoline sold in California meets strict fuel standards, it's likely
that your vehicle will do well on any brand. When you buy the least
expensive fuel, you are encouraging stations to lower their prices—and
rewarding those station owners who do.
Fill up with regular unleaded gasoline. Approximately 80 percent of
today's cars and trucks run fine on regular. Check your owner's manual
to see if yours is one of them. By using regular instead of mid-grade or
premium, you can save substantial amounts; according to last week's
average retail prices in California, premium was selling for 23 cents
more per gallon than regular!
Slow down. Fuel economy decreases as speeds go up. You can figure that
your vehicle loses roughly one percent in fuel economy for every mile
per hour that you drive above 55 miles per hour. That means a car that
averages 30 miles per gallon at 55 mph could typically get 28.5 m.p.g. at
60 mph, 27 m.p.g. at 65 mph, and 25.5 m.p.g. at 70 mph. (Remember that the
drop in fuel economy will probably vary for different models and ages of
Additional tips for improving your car's fuel efficiency can be found on
the Energy Commission's website at:
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