LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 9, 2007 -- Gas prices increased after the beginning of March at a slightly slower pace than during the last week of February, but still fast enough for California to overtake Hawaii as the U.S. state with the most expensive fuel, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $2.934, which is 11.7 cents higher than last week, 38 cents higher than last month, and 38 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the price is $2.946, which is 10.9 cents above last week's price, 37 cents above last month, and 38 cents above last year. On the Central Coast, the average price is $3.051, up 8.9 cents from last week, 33 cents above last month, and 37 cents higher than last year. In the Inland Empire, the average price is $2.935, 10.8 cents above last week, 37 cents higher than last month, and 37 cents higher than last year.

"With five straight weeks of price increases, the California average price of $2.96 a gallon is now more expensive than the Hawaii average price of $2.87," said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp. "Speculators concerned about California's tight fuel market have pushed wholesale prices up quickly."

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline as of 12:01 a.m., March 9:

   Area             Regular       One-week            Record Price
Los Angeles
 - Long Beach        $2.934      +11.7 cents        $3.402 (5/13/2006)

Orange County        $2.892      +12.9 cents        $3.371 (5/17/2006)

San Diego            $2.946      +10.9 cents        $3.438 (5/15/2006)

Santa Barbara
 - Santa Maria
 - Lompoc            $3.051       +8.9 cents        $3.491 (5/16/2006)

 - San Bernardino    $2.935      +10.8 cents        $3.445 (5/15/2006)

Bakersfield          $2.964      +11.0 cents        $3.450 (5/16/2006)

Las Vegas, NV        $2.591       +6.1 cents        $3.176 (5/17/2006)

Contact Information: Contact: Marie Montgomery/Carol Thorp (714) 885-2333