By now everyone should know that Californians pay higher average prices for gasoline than any other Americans. Of the 20 cities with the highest pump prices for gas, 17 are located in California.
But what may matter most to a consumer is the difference between the highest and lowest priced gasoline in a particular area. Motorists who don’t pay attention to that difference could be paying too much when they fill up.
The analysts at GasBuddy have compiled a list of the 20 cities where the difference between the average price for a gallon of regular gas at the highest-priced 5% of gasoline stations and the lowest-priced 5%. That difference is called the “spread” and ranges from more than a dollar in some metro areas and less than 50 cents in others. The median U.S. spread in all 456 of the country’s metro areas is 27.5 cents.
Senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan at GasBuddy explains:
The spread is more significant in certain areas due to a number of factors like competition and geographic location. Analyzing the data GasBuddy has collected through the years, we noticed some commonalities amongst the cities ranked the highest: they tend to be sprawling with a major connecting highway running through them. Additionally, they have the presence of a large warehouse retailer in the market. The good news for drivers in these areas is that there are opportunities to save money if you know where to look and choose to shop wisely.
Here’s GasBuddy’s list of the 20 cities where drivers are most likely to overpay for gasoline and the price spread for the metro area:
- Hanford, California, $1.28 spread
- San Bernardino, California, $1.01
- Bakersfield, California, $0.99
- San Francisco, California, $0.92
- Santa Barbara, California, $0.88
- Washington, D.C., $0.86
- Chicago, Illinois, $0.70
- White Plains, New York, $0.68
- Bridgeport, Connecticut, $0.64
- West Palm Beach, Florida, $0.57
- Des Moines, Iowa, $0.56
- Miami, Florida, $0.56
- New York City, $0.54
- Houma, Louisiana, $0.53
- Edison, New Jersey, $0.51
- Long Island, New York, $0.51
- Tulsa, Oklahoma, $0.50
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota, $0.49
- Cedar Rapids, Iowa, $0.48
- Sioux City, Iowa, $0.48
Buying gas in Hanford, California’s cheapest stations could save a typical driver $63 a month at that spread, according to GasBuddy.
Among America’s largest metro areas, the spread is widest in Los Angeles ($0.86), San Diego ($0.84), Chicago ($0.70), San Jose ($0.70) and New York ($0.54).