Survey: Gasoline prices still climbing |

Survey: Gasoline prices still climbing

Gas prices zoomed upwards in the last month, according to a survey released Tuesday.

Northern California prices hit an average $1.67 a gallon for regular unleaded Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association, when it released its monthly gas price survey. That was up 22 cents from the average price on March 12.

In Grass Valley, prices at seven gas stations averaged $1.62 Tuesday, up from $1.45 on March 12, according to a survey by The Union.

In mid-January, average prices at the same seven Grass Valley stations were considerably lower – $1.23 a gallon.

Speculation over instability in the world oil market – particularly the Middle East oil-producing nations – is the driving force behind rising gas prices, according to AAA.

“There is a lot of concern among oil traders right now,” said AAA spokesman Atle Erlingsson. “The oil market is much like the stock market in the sense that speculation pushes prices up and down. Right now, there’s more speculation about the Middle East than the market can handle.”

Gas prices are still 20 cents below the prices a year ago, when they were headed for the $2 a gallon mark in some areas.

Erlingsson said he doubted that prices this year would hit last summer’s highs. Supplies are adequate and prices are still below a year ago, he noted, though Middle East tensions are an unpredictable wild card.

AAA found that the cheapest Northern California fuel was in Redding, where prices averaged $1.52 a gallon. Eureka was the most expensive city in the state, averaging $1.86 a gallon.

The average U.S. price was $1.41 a gallon, AAA reported.

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