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Local gas prices break $4 mark

• Premium hits $4 at west side gas station.

Posted: April 10, 2008 10:22 p.m.
Updated: June 12, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Gasoline prices in the Santa Clarita Valley broke the $4-a-gallon mark Thursday, and a local analyst says he sees no end to skyrocketing prices.

The price for premium stood at $4.05 a gallon at the Chevron station at Magic Mountain Parkway and The Old Road, according to a survey conducted Thursday morning by Randy Cressall, owner of Valencia Auto Spa.

Asked when valley motorists might see the $4-a-gallon price applied to unleaded gas, Cressall responded, "I would be shooting an arrow in the sky and not knowing where it would come down."

"I have expected it to hit $4 any day," he said Thursday.

Cressall's survey of local gas prices showed the SCV's average price for unleaded gas was $3.75 a gallon. Last week it was $3.64.

That's 30 cents over the national average, which hit a record $3.35 a gallon, reported the American Automobile Association.

Cressall views speculation as the culprit for the rapidly rising gas prices.

He believes that oil company producers will continue to charge as much as they can until they reach a ceiling at which consumers will no longer pay a certain price for gas.

Based on his personal research, Cressall said there is an "ample, ample supply" of available crude oil, although instability in the Middle East and the unstable Venezuelan market could create supply problems.

According to the AAA, gas prices are 56 cents a gallon higher than last year.

Energy Department estimates call for national gasoline prices to average as much as $3.60 a gallon this summer, but officials there expect the national average to spike as high as $4 a gallon at times.

Cressall's survey shows that the cheapest find for gas in the Santa Clarita Valley is at the Alliance station at San Fernando Road and Second Street, where a gallon of regular was being sold Thursday $3.59 a gallon.

In additon to $4 premium, the Chevron station on Magic Mountain Parkway and The Old Road has the most expensive price for regular, at $3.85 per gallon.

"We've seen prices go up really dramatically," Cressall said, noting that gas station operators have seen an increase of more than a dime in the wholesale price of gas.

As for the Chevron station reaching the $4 mark, Cressall said that typically stations located near the freeway will charge more expensive gas because consumers are purchasing for convenience.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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