See how APU students are reacting to the state’s record prices.
California gas prices have hit an all time high with prices reaching an average of $4.682 per gallon on Monday, breaking the previous record of $4.671 from 2012. In some counties, gas is reaching above five dollars a gallon. Compared with the rest of the country, California has the highest price by over a dollar. The national average stands at $3.415 per gallon.
In some counties, such as Northern California’s Humboldt County, prices are nearly $5. In San Francisco, a gallon of regular gas costs an average of $4.867. Southern California counties L.A., Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside are all around four and half dollars per gallon. Some locations in California have seen prices as high as $6, like in the mid Wilshire district, and even $7.59 in the central coast community of Gorda.
Doug Shupe, an AAA spokesperson, told CNN, “the primary reasons for the price spike are higher crude oil prices and pent up demand from the pandemic.” In the same interview with CNN, Shupe mentioned that gas prices typically fall after Labor Day because kids have gone back to school and most travel has ceased. This year, many are still traveling, which has created a rise in demand for fuel, thus increasing the price.
This increased demand for travel is a result of higher comfort levels, likely from COVID vaccinations. In the middle of the pandemic last year, demand for gas was low, but now, as more people travel, prices have increased again.
As Shupe told CNN, “Drivers are paying $1.50 more per gallon than a year ago.… It means the person who has the typical midsize sedan with a 14 gallon size fuel tank, they’re paying $21 more to fill up that tank today than last year.”
Along with an increased demand for travel, the LA Times also reported that recent heavy rains are also to blame for the state’s gas prices. According to Jeffery Spring, a AAA spokesman, California’s oil refineries were “inundated with water,” which affected production. This increased prices in Northern California, causing the state’s average to increase.
Another reason for the increase in prices is the high price of crude oil, which stands at $82 to $84 a barrel. This has caused an increase in gas prices across the country, not just California. SF Gate reports that until the price of crude oil dips below $80 a barrel, gas prices will remain high.
Although some of California’s sky high gas prices can be attributed to a surge in demand due to post-COVID travel, heavy rains and high crude oil prices, the state also has high taxes and environmental fees.
“The federal government charges an excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. States can implement additional taxes and in California they’re higher than in any other state, totaling 66.98 cents,” according to SF Gate.
Azusa Pacific students have noticed the rising gas prices and have shared their concerns regarding the situation. Junior nursing major Lexi Harris said, “I’ve seen some gas stations over five dollars, and so I try to go to one that’s lower … but I do have to drive a lot to get places for school and to drive home.”
Harris also said she tries to go to gas stations that have lower prices, “I don’t typically go to Costco, but I will go to Arco where it’s usually a better price versus the other ones [like] Shell.”
Harris is from Palos Verdes, California. When asked about the prices back home, she noted that gas may be 10 cents cheaper per gallon than in Azusa, but overall there is not much of a difference. Harris also expressed that she is not too worried about prices at the moment and is hopeful they go down soon.
Haley Dyer, a junior allied health major has also been affected by the gas prices in California. She said gas prices play a big role in her decision making. “That’s actually a huge part of my decision making of whether I’ll go do something, depending on how many times I do it per month because I can only really afford like one fill up a month max.”
Dyer is from Colorado and has noticed the difference in prices between each state. “It’s definitely a lot more than Colorado. I’ll talk to people from home and they’ll be like ‘Oh yeah gas is getting more expensive,’ and I’ll be like, ‘What is it?’ and they’re like, “Oh $3.25,’” she said.
Overall, the gas prices are a bit concerning for Dyer, but she has accepted it. “It concerns me every time I fill up, but then I just accept it … for me that’s just part of living in a different place.”
As prices in California continue to rise, it remains to be seen what actions will be taken at the state or the federal level to combat citizens’ concerns entering the holiday season.