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Analyst: San Diego gas prices could drop up to 50 cents

Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 19:20:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — President Biden's decision to release 180 million barrels of oil could lower San Diego gas prices by 30 to 50 cents over the next several weeks, a GasBuddy analyst said Thursday.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said while the amount of oil being released over the next six months is not huge compared to U.S. consumption, it is enough to impact the supply crunch that occurred after Russia invaded Ukraine. Nonetheless, while oil and gas prices rise briskly, they fall much more slowly. De Haan said he expects the drop in price to happen over the next three to five weeks.

"It's the psychological effect of fear, it's a very profound and strong emotion and that's the way the market reacts to uncertainty," De Haan said in an interview.

On Thursday, the average gallon of regular gas in San Diego County was nearly $5.99, a couple of cents below the record set earlier this week. That means even with the drop, local gas prices would still hover around $5.50 a gallon.

"We're still in the middle of the pandemic, we're hoping we're coming out of it, but there's been a tremendous amount of supply chain issues that have held back U.S. oil production. That's part of the problem," De Haan said.

Plus, Californians continue to pay some of the highest gas taxes in the nation -- and the state is about to switch to its more expensive summer blend.

In all, it adds to frustration for San Diegans at the pump.

"It's not great. I think it makes people upset," said Azucena Lopez, who bought three gallons of $5.99 gas at a Shell station in Golden Hill Thursday. "I think most people just want to understand why, and know when it's going to go down."