SAN DIEGO — For three consecutive days starting Wednesday, San Diego has set a record for the county’s highest gas price in history.
The average price of a gallon of regular, unleaded gas ticked upward just slightly to $4.740 Friday, according to AAA. That’s after Thursday’s record-breaking $4.736 and Wednesday’s $4.726, which also briefly set the region’s high mark.
Gas is at its most expensive since 2012: Before this week of eye-popping prices, the record was set on Oct. 8 of that year at $4.725. That’s over $5.70 in 2022 dollars, but that’s likely little comfort to consumers.
The price has risen $1.21 in the last year, and some stations locally have already surpassed $5 on their posted prices.
Residents in San Diego and across the country are dealing with some of the highest inflation in decades during a start-and-stop recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Ports and warehouses are overwhelmed, with many products and parts remaining in short supply across industries.
Experts say gas prices specifically are up nationwide due in part to the high cost of crude oil. “Moderating winter weather and optimism over a potential fading of the omicron variant have led to an increase in gas demand,” AAA explains.
“More drivers fueling up here coupled with a persistent tight supply of oil worldwide provides the recipe for higher prices at the pump,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said Monday. “And unfortunately for consumers, it does not appear that this trend will change anytime soon.”
Mounting tensions along the Ukrainian border are adding to the problem. Russia is the third-largest oil producer in the world, and access to that supply would likely be disrupted in the event of a military conflict or U.S. sanctions. That’s making investors anxious, further contributing to the volatility around prices.
The average price of a gallon of gas nationally remains far below San Diego at $3.528. In California it’s closer, at $4.728 compared to the county.
Adding to the eye-popping total faced by San Diegans at the pump, California features the highest gasoline taxes in the nation. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a “gas tax holiday” that would delay a scheduled hike in the fees this summer, but it remains to be seen if the state legislature will allow it.
Here is some advice for saving more on filling up, courtesy of AAA, who have a complete list of gas-saving tips on their website:
- Both acceleration and deceleration waste fuel. Try to drive at a constant speed and avoid tailgating.
- Use cruise control when possible. The small, more precise adjustments made by the car’s cruise control system will keep your speed constant and save you fuel.
- Some credit cards offer gas savings when using the card for purchases.
- Choose to pay in cash if there is an extra charge to use a credit card.
- Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage by more than 3% per tire. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and compare it with the recommended pressure listed in your owners manual and on the placard in your car door.
- On large SUVs and minivans, remove unneeded third-row seating. Some third-row seats weigh over 100 pounds. This is extra weight your engine has to deal with, which can waste gas.