Gas prices to drop over the next few weeks

Refineries to produce more gas for spring and summer

Victoria Sanchez, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Anchor/Reporter, victoriasanchez@keyt.com
POSTED: 11:13 PM PDT Mar 11, 2013    UPDATED: 11:27 PM PDT Mar 11, 2013 
GOLETA, Calif. -

For the first time in 2013, gas prices are dipping.

The peak of pricy gas topped out at the end of February and the beginning of March. Now drivers should see some relief before the busy summer traveling season. 

The ever-changing gas prices could give drivers whiplash.

"Ridiculous. You know it's quite pricy," said James Kerrigan as he pumped gas in Goleta. 

Even with the news that these numbers could now dip, some motorist are still weary. 

"That would be great but then what will it be in a month from now or two months from now, and what was it two years ago?" said Michael Stivers, Goleta resident.

In Santa Barbara County, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas is $4.35.

"And that's quite a bit of an increase from where we were say at the end of December when it was under $3.70 a gallon," said Mark Schniepp with the California Economic Forecast. 

But there is a reason for the jump. 

"Certain units have been shut down in refineries for maintenance or entire refineries have been shut down for maintenance and it's in the winter time in which the refiners schedule the maintenance so they can be up to full capacity in the spring and summer months when demand is going to be greatest," explained Schniepp.  

Now that companies are starting to pump out more gas, over the next several weeks the number at the pump should be smaller. That's good news for commuters. 

"It's definitely overwhelming I think especially being younger. We're all trying to just make it," said Mara Murrillo who commutes from Refugio Beach to Goleta for work. 

Kerrigan and Murrillo do everything they can to save money when filling up, from checking online prices to even driving in the more MPG friendly vehicle. 

"She gets 30 miles to the gallon in her car since it's a newer car and my old school car, I can't even drive it, it's just too much. It really is," said Kerrigan.

For a list of gas prices in your area, click here