CALIFORNIA – Californians have been struggling at the pump for months, and despite a slight respite in the spring, prices have resumed their uptrend over the summer months.
On Sunday, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $6.32, up from $5.76 a month ago, according to the American Automobile Association.
In some areas, gas prices have reached hair-raising levels. A Chevron gas station in downtown Los Angeles charged $8.05 for regular gas, the Los Angeles Times reported. On Saturday, members of the Brown Beret National Party protested high gas prices at a Chevron gas station in downtown Los Angeles.
Across the state, Schlafer’s Auto Repair in Mendocino charged $9.60 a gallon for regular gas, CNN reported.
Gas prices were also up across the country, rising to $4.84 a gallon for regular gas on Sunday, up 13 cents from Tuesday.
Gasoline inventories fell sharply last week, according to the Energy Information Administration, as fuel demand surged over the Memorial Day travel weekend.
“These supply and demand dynamics have contributed to rising pump prices,” the Auto Mobile Club wrote in a statement. “Coupled with volatile crude prices, pump prices are likely to remain elevated as long as demand grows and supply remains tight.”
California’s gas prices are higher than anywhere else in the nation amid clean energy regulations and the severe effects of inflation.
Gas prices for the rest of the summer could remain unpredictable and tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Douglas Shupe, a spokesman for AAA, told the Los Angeles Times.
Even with rising prices, gas demand is likely to continue throughout the summer.
“Just this Memorial Day weekend, we saw a 5 percent increase in car trips,” Shupe told the Times.
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Meanwhile, California lawmakers are still weighing an aid package that could net California motorists $400 in checks thanks to a huge budget surplus.
Newsom last month announced its $18.1 billion inflation package to offset skyrocketing costs in the Golden State. The $400 checks would go to registered car owners, with up to two checks allowed per person per vehicle.
Legislators have been struggling for months to find a solution to the rising costs. In March, Republican lawmakers failed Monday to garner enough votes to trigger an immediate gas tax holiday in the state. The measure would have eliminated about 51 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes for six months.
Although prices were already rising amid inflation, the rise was exacerbated by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
In addition, the price paid by California residents to ride or order food via Uber and Lyft also increased.
To offset rising gas prices for California’s Uber drivers, the ride-sharing and grocery delivery company imposed a temporary surcharge on customers.
With prices remaining high in California, motorists may soon switch to public transit to avoid a gas pump pain, according to media reports.
Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for Bay Area Rapid Transit, told The Mercury News that she’s seen a 15 to 20 percent increase in ridership in San Francisco at the downtown Embarcadero and Montgomery stations.
“They couldn’t better time historically high gas prices and the reopening of offices to restore transit,” she told the newspaper. “It’s a pivotal moment.”