Five Weeks of Gas Price Drops Amid Signs That Downturn May Be Over, Says Auto Club

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 2, 2007 -- Southern California gas prices dropped for the fifth straight week but bounced up in the last couple of days in many cities, as oil industry analysts noted an increase in wholesale prices that may indicate the downturn is over, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $2.488, which is 3.6 cents lower than last week, 14 cents lower than last month, and 10 cents lower than last year. In San Diego, the price is $2.493, which is 2.7 cents below last week's price, 19 cents below last month, and 10 cents below last year. On the Central Coast, the average price is $2.661, down four cents from last week, 18 cents below last month, and seven cents lower than last year. In the Inland Empire, the average price is $2.485, three cents below last week, 16 cents lower than last month, and 12 cents lower than last year.

"For the past seven years, California gas prices have started to go up in either January or February after a winter decline in prices during the lowest demand time of the year," said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp. "Refiners in the state are starting to switch over from producing the 'winter' blend of gasoline to the 'summer' blend that is mandated for California by air quality requirements, and the 'summer' blend is more expensive for refiners to produce."

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline as of 12:01 a.m., Feb. 2:

Area                          Regular  One-week change   Record Price

Los Angeles - Long Beach      $ 2.488    -3.6 cents         $ 3.402

Orange County                 $ 2.434    -2.0 cents         $ 3.371

San Diego                     $ 2.493    -2.7 cents         $ 3.438

Santa Barbara - Santa
 Maria - Lompoc               $ 2.661    -4.0 cents         $ 3.491

Riverside - San
 Bernardino                   $ 2.485    -3.0 cents         $ 3.445

Bakersfield                   $ 2.493    -2.5 cents         $ 3.450

Las Vegas, NV                 $ 2.422    -5.9 cents         $ 3.176

Contact Information: Contact: Marie Montgomery/Carol Thorp (714) 885-2333