Gas prices rise with the temperature

Carson City drivers are paying more for gas before the typically heavy travel season. Gas prices peak in the summer, when demand is high. With spring still around the corner, drivers are finding more pumps priced near $3.

An average gallon of gas in Carson City costs $2.96, a seven-month high that has not been eclipsed since August, when the average cost of a gallon of unleaded gas cost more than $3.

The 34-cent increase over February's average price of $2.62 comes after some trouble at the refineries, said AAA Nevada spokesperson Michael Geeser. AAA Nevada tracks fuel prices as a service to consumers.

Why are gas prices so high in Northern Nevada?

Being in Northern Nevada, you are tied to Northern California and that's a factor because there were problems at the Northern California refineries, which sends gas directly to Northern Nevada.

There were two main reasons for the price hike in February. The scheduled shutdowns of West Coast refineries didn't go smoothly with several maintenance problems cropping up. A refinery fire in the West Texas panhandle had a lasting effect on the supply of gas throughout the West.

How does a refinery fire in Texas affect Nevada?

That had more to do with Southern Nevada. That refinery supplied gas directly to Arizona. When the fire occurred and knocked the refinery off line, Arizona was forced to go elsewhere for gas, so it went to distributors in Southern California. Southern California is where Southern Nevada gets its gas. There were two people on the same faucet.

Why does Vegas always have such lower gas prices? The average price for gas in Reno and Sparks is $3.04, a 34-cent increase from the last survey. The average price in Las Vegas is $2.66, a 27-cent increase from last month's AAA survey.

It has more to do with Northern California and Southern California than anything here in Nevada. Prices tend to be higher in Northern California because of the refining process there.

How can drivers save money?

Maintain your cars; make sure your tires are inflated properly; go in for routine maintenance. Shop for the cheapest gas, and know where you are going. Condense errands into one trip.

When will prices decrease?

What refineries are doing is scheduling maintenance shutdowns so they can reformulate for the summer months ahead. When that process is complete - usually late March - prices will level off, but then they'll go back up in the summer. The summer is the peak travel season in the U.S. Demand goes way up.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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