Unleaded gasoline cost Santa Barbara motorists nearly 6 cents more this week after declining for the past two months, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded gas was $3.89 Thursday and 5.7 cents more than it was last Thursday. It was still 13.5 cents less than it was a month ago but 78.7 cents more than this time last year, according to GasBuddy.com.
Santa Barbara is home to some of the highest gas prices in the nation and has seen prices increase each of the past six days after they slightly decreased the past two months. Prices are rising even though the demand for oil hasn’t necessarily increased in the United States, according to Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring.
“The demand hasn’t picked up here for a while, but the perception is there is more demand for oil in developing countries,” he said. “Although (demand isn’t up) here, prices may be based on the worldwide look which will push the price of oil up.”
The average price of gas nationwide pushed up 6.6 cents in the past week and 3 cents statewide. But Spring questioned whether the actual price of gas increased or whether it jumped because of speculation.
“Last week’s higher oil and wholesale gasoline prices related to the weaker dollar had a quick impact at the pump for local drivers,” Spring said. “Oil is now trading lower than $100 a barrel again, so it remains to be seen whether prices will continue to rise.”
A barrel of crude oil has stayed at $95 the past two weeks.
South Coast residents can find the least expensive gas at the Educated Car Wash at 3735 State St. at $3.64. The next least expensive stations are the Thrifty at 4069 State St. and the Conserv Fuel at 150 S. La Cumbre Road at $3.75 a gallon. Drivers can head to the ARCO at 1116 Casitas Pass Road for gas priced at $3.76 a gallon and the ARCO at 3618 State St. for gas priced at $3.77. The Shell at 3060 State St. has the lowest price on diesel fuel, at $4.19 a gallon.