Gas prices edge up slightly |

Gas prices edge up slightly

Gas prices edged upward in Northern California, but a slow economy is expected to hold down prices, according to the American Automobile Association.

In Northern California, the average price for a gallon of gas went up a penny during the past month to $1.28, according to a monthly survey of gas prices released Tuesday by AAA.

In Grass Valley, prices at seven gas stations surveyed by The Union averaged $1.26 per gallon on Tuesday, compared with $1.23 on Jan. 15.

Though prices have started to edge up – except in the Bay Area, where a price war has kept them down – it’s not the start of a major increase, AAA spokesman Atle Erlingsson said.

There is not a huge demand for gas, Erlingsson said, and prices have risen in reaction to production cutbacks by refineries in the United States and California. Also, refineries are switching over to a summer grade of gas that runs a few cents more per gallon, Erlingsson said.

“Even with sporadic regional increases, we expect prices to remain low throughout the balance of the first quarter,” Erlingsson stated in a prepared statement. “In fact, because of the slow domestic and global economies, barring any major production problems, prices will probably not increase as steeply in spring and summer as they have in years past.”

California prices were up 8 cents per gallon to $1.29, fueled by double-digit price increases in Central Valley cities. Gas prices in Marysville went up 8 cents to $1.26 a gallon. Sacramento also averaged $1.26 a gallon, up 2 cents.

The average price of a gallon of gas in the nation was down 1 cent to $1.12.

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