New record-high gas prices to hit Tahoe | NevadaAppeal.com
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New record-high gas prices to hit Tahoe

Jenny Goldsmith
Nevada Appeal News Service

As gasoline prices soar to record highs throughout California and drivers refueling in the Truckee-Tahoe area pay top dollar, speculation continues over whether prices at the pump will reach $4 a gallon.

The statewide average cost of regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.50 a gallon on Tuesday in California, an increase of 38 cents per gallon over the last three weeks, said Sean Comey, a spokesman for AAA of Northern California, in a released statement. Nevada’s statewide average Tuesday was $3.21, with the Reno-area average at $3.32.

In addition, the wholesale price of a 43-gallon barrel of crude oil hit a record high of over $100, and the average cost for consumers refueling with regular unleaded in the North Lake Tahoe region is $3.67 – a few cents higher than San Francisco and Sacramento.

“We may not have seen the worst of it yet,” Comey said. “We usually see fuel costs rise in the spring because demand increases as people tend to drive more in warmer weather and the type of fuel we use in the summer costs more to make.”

Therefore, even if fuel costs level off in the next few months, the Truckee-Tahoe region could see prices spike to nearly $4 by summer, said Michael Geeser, a AAA spokesman for Nevada.

“Until we see the value of the dollar stabilize, crude oil prices will remain high,” Geeser said. “We’re already 50 to 60 cents higher than we were at this time last year, which means by the end of spring or beginning of summer, we could be looking at record-high prices again.”

But Geeser said the good news is, consumers may start to alter their philosophies toward alternative fuels.

“I think we’ve already seen a change in attitude where people perhaps aren’t driving as far or are taking a closer look at purchasing hybrids and that sort of thing,” Geeser said. “People like AAA that are advocating different fuels and technologies and ways to get around high gas prices think it’s going to become more of the norm.”

Comparably, Ronnie Colby with Truckee Biofuels said if gas prices continue to burn a hole through pocketbooks, his company may see a boost in business.

Blended biodiesel at Truckee Biofuels is currently cheaper by 10 cents per gallon than regular diesel at local gas stations, which averages $3.94 a gallon.

“The $4-a-gallon mark is the magic number, it has great psychological value,” Colby said. “Everything that I’ve seen to date is that consumers won’t change their habits until they stand to save some money, and now I think the price could be a motivating factor for some.”

Gas-saving tips

AAA tips for saving money on gas

• Avoid luxury gas. Premium fuel costs about 20-25 cents a gallon more than regular, so if your car doesn’t need premium, don’t buy it.

• Shop aggressively. Since prices change overnight, the gas station that offered the best deal last time you filled up may be the most expensive the next time your tank is empty. To find real-time information on gas prices at more than 85,000 gas stations throughout the United States, check http://www.aaa.com/gasprices.

• Check your tires. For every pound of pressure your tires are underinflated, you could be losing up to 2 percent of your gas mileage. Tires could be down by five pounds or more and still appear to be properly inflated, but you could be buying 10 percent more gas than you actually need.

• Drive conservatively. A lead foot can add significantly to your fuel bill. By driving the speed limit, accelerating slowly, anticipating stops and taking excess weight out of your vehicle, you can often improve your fuel economy.

Gas PriceS in

Carson City:

Highest: $3.36

Average: $3.29

Lowest: $3.16

– Source: http://www.aaa.com/gasprices