Southern Californians are driving more this holiday season, as evidenced by an unusual post-Christmas Day traffic jam on December 26 through Camp Pendleton south to Del Mar on I-5. It was bumper-to-bumper most of the day. Lowering gas prices must be a factor.
Since October 10, when the average price of gas in San Diego County was the highest since June, 2015 – $3.85 for regular grade, cash price – San Diegans have enjoyed a 50-cent per gallon drop. The noticeable decreases started the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend.
On December 27, nine stations, all independent or big box retailers, were selling regular gas under $3.00 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.com.
Always one of the low-price leaders, the Noil station on Cactus Road at Otay Mesa Road was the lowest at $2.88 a gallon, followed by several Costcos around the county at $2.89 to $2.95.
Two Mohsen stations in Oceanside have recently been in a 1950s penny-for-penny price war with four Oceanside G&M stations. Posted at $2.97 in the morning of December 27, G&M matched Mohsen’s price by the afternoon.
Interesting to note that over this holiday season, it appears that Shell has re-positioned itself as the highest-priced branded gas in the county, taken the top honors away from the highest-priced Chevron.
Selling for much more than the county average, three Shell stations were tops; India Street at Vine Street in downtown at $4.29, Pacific Highway at Laurel Street (always priced to take advantage of last minute fill-ups for rental car returns at the airport), at $4.19, and the Sierra Mesa Shell on Health Center Drive was reported at $4.19.
Could lower prices be in San Diego’s future? Maybe. The San Joaquin Valley leads the state in the top 15 lowest priced stations; five stations in Lemoore (half way between Bakersfield and the Bay Area) posted the state’s lowest prices, at $2.20 to $2.45 a gallon.
According to a December 26 Bloomberg News report, this round of falling prices is because “America is exporting a record amount of refined fuel, contributing to a global glut in gasoline.”