Gas going up again
Gasoline price hikes have shifted back into high gear after a few months of relief at the pump, setting up more frustration for motorists in coming weeks. Since the beginning of the year, the price of a gallon of regular has climbed more than 30 cents, with particularly sharp gains in the past few days. It hit $2.541 in Los Angeles on Friday, according to the latest Automobile Club of Southern California data, up more than 3 cents overnight. With oil companies taking their refineries offline for the switch to summer-blend gasoline and scheduled maintenance in the next few weeks, industry observers see no quick relief in sight. And for someone like Reyn Mercuri, a Sherman Oaks resident who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs, that’s a very bad thing. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “They drop the prices down to $2.10, $2.15, then you get complacent,” he said, watching his dollars disappear into the gas tank of his `94 Mazda MX-3. “Pretty soon, they’re back up again. … I wanted to get a new car, but I figured with gas the way it is, I should keep this. At least I know how it works.” He paid $2.55 for regular at a Sherman Oaks Shell station, when barely a mile away, a 76 Station was charging over $3 for midgrade. While the widespread $3 gasoline seen in late summer isn’t expected to return, Andre van der Valk, owner of four San Fernando Valley gas stations, said only that big increases should level off. “Some dealers haven’t reacted to the price yet, so you’ll see in the $2.50s and $2.60s, then you’ll see the reductions again,” said van der Valk, who’s also president of the service station owners’ trade group AuTO-Ca. “It’ll level off in the next couple weeks and then head down.” But with unrest in the Middle East pushing a barrel of crude oil to $67.76 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, drivers like Mercuri shouldn’t expect much relief. Though production generally returns to normal in early March, there’s little expectations that pump prices will drop much beyond current levels. “The low points are at a higher spot and the high ones get even higher,” said Jeff Spring, a spokesman for the Auto Club. “We’ve been told twice in the last three weeks that wholesale prices dropped, but that may give us a plateau, or it may just be a step in the ladder going up.” Brent Hopkins, (818) 713-3738 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!