After soaring quickly, valley gas prices slow to drop

10/12/2012 7:50 AM

10/12/2012 7:53 AM

Gas prices, which recently soared by around 50 cents a gallon statewide in a week’s time, are falling at a snail’s pace despite a dramatic downturn in wholesale gas prices.

It appears likely that gasoline priced less than $4 a gallon is going to remain a distant memory for the remainder of 2012.

AAA put the statewide average price of unleaded regular on Thursday at $4.659 a gallon, down a tiny fraction from Wednesday’s $4.666 and just a short hop from Tuesday’s all-time record of $4.671.

National gas price tracker GasBuddy.com had Thursday’s average price per gallon in California at $4.63, down a penny from Wednesday.

In the Northern San Joaquin Valley, gas can be had for $4.25 a gallon at the Westley Triangle Truck Stop, and $4.29 at a few other area locations, according to ModestoGasPrices.com.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, characterized the slow-motion drop-offs as “ridiculous” and “a joke” in the aftermath of 50-cent-plus downturns in California wholesale gas prices since Oct. 5 — even accounting for a typical three- to five-day lag time between wholesale price changes and a corresponding change at gas pumps.

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