A year ago, California drivers paid $1.60 less per gallon across California. It was a nickel here a quarter there -- and now the average is $5.34. Some who drive for a living say they still aren’t ready to put it in park.
Steven Cox says just four years ago he was paying less than $3 a gallon to fuel his diesel truck. Today he’s paying nearly twice that amount. He stopped when he hit $160.
It gave him 3/4 of a tank.
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But for him, an estate sale business owner, there’s no way out.
"I probably drive 50-100 miles a day. The gas is going up; what do you do? I’m OK with it," he said.
John Rodriguez owns a fleet of 16 limos and party buses at Angel Limousines.
COVID cancellations were his first setback. Now he’s dealing with another unexpected hit beyond the price of filling his tanks.
"We’ll have seven party buses going to the home game to Dodger Stadium opening day. Not this year," he said.
Paying for petroleum is at a 14-year high. For Rodriguez that means the cost of fuel is coming painfully into focus.
"I want to keep my customers. I don’t want to tell them I have to charge you $25 more to take you to the airport so I’ll just eat it, because I’m hoping this is short. I don’t know how long it's going to take," he said.
On the flip side the owner of Fullerton Electric Bicycles hopes to encourage people to plug in rather than fill up.
"With current inflation, gas increasing so fast, I think a lot of people will push panic button and make an alternative decision quick," Mike Franze said.
Some stations are offering lower prices with a car wash. With others, cash is king.
The owner of an OC gas station says he sees long lines when prices peak.
"Initially the first few days, prices go up a little bit but it will go down in a week because people stop using gas unnecessarily," Surindar Multani said.
According to the experts at AAA, get ready to dig even deeper, because refineries historically will slow production in spring to prepare for summer grade and an increase in demand.
Here are the average prices in SoCal counties for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, as of Monday morning:
- $5.43 in Los Angeles County
- $5.43 in Orange County
- $5.34 in Ventura County
- $5.34 in San Bernardino County
- $5.30 in Riverside County
Apps like GasBuddy can help you find the cheapest gas near you, and you can try to save money by carpooling or taking public transportation.