Price at the pump soars in S. California

Feb. 4, 2013 at 5:22 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The price of gasoline jumped in Southern California last week, with gains averaging 26.1 cents per gallon in Orange County, AAA said.

AAA's Fuel Gauge Report said the price of gasoline rose 24.8 cents in Los Angeles Monday to Monday with the average price in the state jumping 23.4 cents over the past seven days.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that the state's average increase, which beat the national average price increase by 6 cents, was due in part delayed refinery maintenance, which was put off last fall so refineries could keep operating when the price of gasoline in California reached a record $4.671 per gallon.

"California has a lot more planned refinery maintenance than it usually has at this time of year and most of that is concentrated in Southern California," said Denton Cinquegrana, executive editor of the Oil Price Information Service, which monitors gasoline prices from more than 100,000 gas stations across the United States.

In a related story, the Times said that 38 percent of U.S. consumers indicated they were more likely now than in the past to consider using a gasoline discount program offered by retailers.

A significant percentage of consumers indicated that brand loyalty still played a part in their choice of gasoline purchases. More than 33 percent indicated the price difference per gallon would have to be 11 cents or more before they would switch gasoline brands.

NPD Group surveyed 3,740 consumers and concluded that consumers were more apt to demand value from their retailers. "Clearly fuel discounts are a game changer in today's market," said gasoline industry analyst Dave Portalatin at NPD.

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