The average price in Fresno of unleaded regular gasoline rose 6 cents in the last month to $2.63 a gallon, according to AAA of Northern California. Prices stayed steady at $2.59 a gallon in the Visalia-Tulare-Porterville area.
AAA released its monthly gas price report Tuesday.
Prices appear to have hit bottom and are heading up again. California’s average price, at $2.65 a gallon, is highest in the contiguous United States, up 7 cents in the last month.
Nationwide, prices are also up 7 cents to an average of $2.19 a gallon.
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Several factors are causing the increase at the pump, including rising crude oil prices and maintenance at refineries that typically happens this time of year. A strike by employees at plants that process more than 10% of U.S. petroleum products is also adding uncertainty, noted AAA.
“While news of the strike has reportedly led to higher wholesale gasoline prices, the work stoppage is not expected to have a significant impact on production in the short-term because refineries continue to operate,” said AAA Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris. “The abundant petroleum supplies may provide the refiners and unions time to reach an agreement before there is a larger impact on consumers.”
A global abundance of crude oil is expected to keep a lid on oil prices for the first half of the year, though the market is extremely volatile, she said.