Gas prices have been slowly decreasing throughout California since the start of the month – on average, prices have decreased by just under a cent a day for the past 14 days -- but San Luis Obispo still topped statewide prices Tuesday with an average of $4.27 per gallon for regular unleaded.
This is 5 cents less than the prices price a week ago, and approximately 14 cents less than the same date last year, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
San Luis Obispo is followed closely by prices in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, which average $4.26 and $4.25, respectively.
GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Gregg Laskoski said the gradual decrease in California gas prices is a temporary result of switching from winter-blend fuel to the cleaner burning summer blend.
In February, California refineries began the switch to summer-blend fuel amid some machinery malfunctions, which drove statewide prices up to approximately $4.23 per gallon.
Now, gas prices are settling down into more of what they should be at this time of year, though they will increase again once the summer blend is fully transitioned in, Laskoski said.
“We’re almost completed with the process of switching to the summer-blend fuel, which is more expensive,” Laskoski said. “We will hit a period where prices climb … It could be in early April for California or mid-April for the rest of the country.”
For the rest of March, though, Laskoski said prices should stay approximately the same. “While we’re in this transition phase, prices will be lower,” he said. “We’re at a plateau.”
Nationwide, gas prices averaged $3.70 on Tuesday -- 3 cents less than they averaged a week ago.