LA Gas Prices Among the Highest in America

Local delivery drivers are among those affected the most by rising gas prices

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For businesses that rely on driving, such as delivery services, the gas hike has affected their bottom line and what they can offer customers. (Published Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012)

    Drivers across the state have had to deal with some of the highest gas prices in the nation. In fact, California ranks highest behind Alaska and Hawaii in the cost of gas, according to AAA Southern California.

    "We are higher than we were last year, about 30-cents a gallon higher than we were last year," said Jeffrey Spring of the corporate communications department of AAA Southern California.

    Spring says that's unusual for this month. He adds uncertainty in the Middle East, a more expensive blend of gas in the state and a higher tax structure than most areas for driving up the price of gas locally.

    According to GasBuddy.com California's average is $3.68 per gallon compared to the national average of $3.40. The average in Los Angeles is $3.73 a gallon.

    For businesses that rely on driving, the gas hike has affected their bottom line and what they can offer customers. Donna Smith, owner of Samuel's Florist in Burbank, says 90 percent of her business relies on deliveries. She bunches up multiple stops on the same route for her drivers. It helps save money but sometimes ruins the surprise.

    Shahen Khanchaturian is one of Samuel Florist's drivers. He is always on the lookout for the least expensive pumps.

    "We have one up the street on Victory which is an Arco station. They always have very good gas prices," Khanchaturian said. In one morning he made several stops.

    "I went to Woodland Hills. From there I shifted to Simi Valley to a cemetery up there, then I stopped at our supplier place which is in North Hollywood," he said.

    Some businesses rely on companies like Pricelock.com.  A company representative tells us businesses will lock in a certain gallon price each year. They will continue paying at the pump but if the price is over their set amount, the businesses will be reimbursed.  

    The owner of the florist shop since 1998 says every year she re-evaluates delivery prices based on the market and what her budget can allow.

    "We re-evaluate our delivery charge a lot. People call and ask all the time and I know it's not cheap but we don't want it to take out of the flowers," Smith said.

    "Some analysts are saying it could go 50 to 60 higher but we will have to see," Spring added.

    AAA suggests planning ahead and using online tools like their AAA TripTik to find the least expensive gas prices.  Another suggestion is to keep cars well maintained. Spring says if tires are inflated, if fluids are at proper levels, and everything is working well, that can shave off money at the pump.

    "One way to cut your cost of gas is to carpool. I carpool a number of times a week and it really helps save on gasoline," Spring said.

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