Gas prices near record high |

Gas prices near record high

Gasoline prices in western Nevada County are approaching record highs but are still lower than the state average, according to the monthly survey from AAA of Northern California.

The price of regular unleaded at seven Grass Valley area stations surveyed monthly by The Union increased an average of 28.7 cents a gallon from Sept. 14 to Tuesday and averaged $2.32 a gallon.

Prices ranged from a low of $2.26 (Arco) to a high of $2.38 (Chevron and Shell on East Main Street).

Statewide, gas prices increased 25 cents a gallon to an average of $2.34, according to AAA. The record average price is $2.37, set June 1.

The highest price in the state was at South Lake Tahoe ($2.55) while the lowest was in Tracy ($2.26). Throughout Northern California, the average was $2.34.

“It’s relentless, the punishment consumers are being forced to endure at the gas pump,” said Sean Comey, a spokesman for AAA. “Every day for the past two weeks, the price goes up.

“This is a disturbing trend for consumers,” he added. “With the cost of crude oil skyrocketing, it seems likely these punishing hikes in the cost of fuel will continue.”

Crude oil prices dropped $1.13 to $52.51 a barrel Tuesday after hitting a record high of $53.64 on Monday. Prices at the pump increase 2.5 cents a gallon for every $1 increase in crude, according to AAA.

Analysts had predicted that crude oil prices would drop as hurricane-damaged petroleum facilities in the Gulf of Mexico are repaired.

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