Gas prices pause upward climb, possibly peaked

AAA announced that gas prices have appeared to stop rising indicating that prices have peaked

CENTRAL VALLEY – Gas prices might be entering a downhill slide after AAA announced that prices have stopped climbing.

According to AAA reports, nationwide and California gas prices have stopped rising, potentially signaling a peak with just a few weeks left in the summer driving season and the start of the school year. Also concerns about transmission of COVID-19 are growing as infection rates continue to increase. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says both gas demand and supply are decreasing.

“Although the drop in demand has helped to minimize pump price increases and stabilize the national average, elevated crude prices continue to keep pump prices high as the end of summer draws near,” AAA stated.

In California, the average gas price this week according to AAA is $4.40 a gallon compared to $4.69 in Tulare county. The cheapest price in the region per GasBuddy is at the Lemoore Fastrip selling regular for $3.69.

Oil prices have dropped in the past few weeks to $62 a barrel compared to $73 in mid-July, a 15% decline. Gas prices should follow.

Jobless rate holds steady

The unemployment rate in Tulare County was 11.1 percent in July 2021, unchanged from a revised 11.1 percent in June 2021, and below the year-ago estimate of 15.0 percent. Total jobs in the county are up by 7,200 from 154,000 a year ago to 161,400 this July. Farm jobs year-over-year climbed 4,700.

California’s jobless rate was 7.9% and 5.7% for the nation during the same period. Some of those jobs may be in the solar industry.

Residential solar permits in Tulare County number 1,949 so far in 2021, the best year since 2016 when 2,079 permits for solar installation were pulled. The value this year is $41 million, highest ever.

Dems add more voters in Kings, Tulare and Fresno Counties

Democratic registration continues to outpace new GOP voters in Central California, based on state numbers comparing the voter rolls to three years back.

The numbers are in time for the September gubernatorial recall election.

The latest statewide numbers as of July 2021, show Democrat voter registration is 46.5% of all voters compared to 43.8% in September 2018. GOP registration over the same time has declined to 24.1% of the electorate in 2021 compared to 24.5% in September 2018.

In California, Dems now outnumber Republicans 10.2 million to 5.3 million. No Party Preference voters add up another 5.1 million this year.

In the Central Valley’s normally GOP-leaning Tulare County, the Republican lead has shrunk. In 2018 there was a 14,000-voter plurality for the GOP that has now declined to a 9,000-voter advantage. The trend can be seen comparing 2012 voter numbers when the GOP led Dems in the county 44.5% to 33%. This year it is 37.8% GOP to 33% Democrats. About 17,500 new voters registered from 2018 to 2021.

In even more conservative Kings County, Dems added 3,300 new voters to the rolls while Republicans added 2,800 over the 3-year period. The GOP still has the advantage here.

In Fresno County, Dems lead has soared, adding over 30,000 new Democrats to the rolls while the GOP added just 12,000. Dems now lead the GOP in Fresno County by 201,000 to 163,000—a 40,000 voter plurality this year compared to a 20,000 Dem registration plurality in 2018.

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