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California pump prices $1 lower than year ago
Some gasoline has dipped below $3 a gallon in Manteca. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

Rick Baker said he’s thrilled that the price of oil is seasonally as low as it has been for the last decade.

He just wants to see a little bit of that price decline at the pump where the local construction worker spends more than $75 to fill his tank at least twice a week in order to commute back-and-forth to various jobsites.

“Right now is when gas is typically the most expensive and it’s not nearly as bad as it has been,” Baker said while gassing his tank at the Chevron on West Yosemite Avenue. “But it should be a lot better than what it is. They’re talking about the price of oil is so low but we here in California aren’t seeing that.

“Maybe we can catch a break sometime soon?”

According to the popular website, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in California is $3.40-a-gallon. That’s almost a dollar less than what gasoline peaked at two years ago, but still markedly higher than the national average of $2.53-a-gallon.

Gas prices throughout the Western United States – in places like California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada – are among the highest in the country.

But if you live outside of that area, there’s reason to sing every time you go to the pump.

According to the American Automobile Association, fuel across the country is at its lowest point at this time of the summer since 2004. The decline in price reflects the overall cost of oil per-barrel in the United States – currently hovering at around $40. That is down 34 percent from the 2015 high of $61-a-barrel.

And with Labor Day Weekend coming up – one of the busiest road travel holidays of the year – more and more people will be taking to the highways to get one last summer romp in before fall officially arrives.

“I’m probably going to stay home and study but I know a lot of people that are going to hit the road and travel,” said local college student Desiree Kinsey. “Even with gas cheaper than it was at this point last year it’s still pretty expensive and as a student that’s something that I would like to see change soon.

“When you live in California paying a lot for gas is just something that you’re used to doing. Hopefully that doesn’t have to be the case forever.”