Gas prices down, surprisingly |

Gas prices down, surprisingly

Gas prices edged downward over the past month, breaking a two-month string of record price spikes, according to an American Automobile Association survey released Tuesday.

Northern California gas prices dropped 4 cents over the past month, averaging $1.63 a gallon for regular unleaded gas, according to AAA, which surveyed prices Monday for its monthly survey.

In Grass Valley, a separate survey of seven gas stations Tuesday by The Union found an average price of $1.57 a gallon, down from $1.62 a month ago.

While it’s not a huge bonus, it does end a two-month surge when a gallon of gas jumped 39 cents from February to April, according to the AAA.

The drop was also a surprise since prices usually go up this time of the year, said AAA spokesman Atle Erlingsson.

“To see them take a decrease breaks the trend we’ve seen in years past,” said Erlingsson.

Refineries produced too much gasoline, which pushed prices downward despite rising crude oil prices, said Erlingsson.

Gas prices are likely to stabilize for the near term, said Erlingsson. Right now, prices are 35 cents cheaper than last summer, so motorists are in relatively good shape for the summer driving season.

According to the survey, Eureka has the state’s most expensive gas, averaging $1.84 per gallon, while Redding was the cheapest at $1.47 per gallon. Sacramento averaged $1.62 per gallon. The U.S. average was $1.40 per gallon.

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