SAN DIEGO, CA (KGTV) — Prices at the pump continue to skyrocket and break records in California. Experts say several factors are to blame, including the rising tensions in Russia and Ukraine.
“I think these prices are ridiculous,” said Joel Gordillo while getting gas Tuesday, paying more than $5 a gallon for premium gas. “I mean, look at this, this is too much.”
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.53 on Tuesday, while California’s average was a whopping $4.74, San Diego County was also at $4.74.
At a gas station on 28th Street and Boston Avenue, a gallon of regular was $4.99 Tuesday; all other options were more than $5.
“I’m just waiting for them to drop down, hopefully soon; the struggle is real, you know, a lot of people can’t pay these gas prices right now,” said Ernesto Tapia, who was gassing up at the station on 28th and Boston Tuesday.
Unfortunately, some experts don’t think the prices will be going down any time soon.
“February of last year, oil was at about $61 a barrel,” said Marie Montgomery, a spokesperson for AAA of Southern California. She said that number was $96 a barrel on Tuesday. She said since Friday, wholesale gas prices in Southern California have spiked.
Montgomery said three major factors have contributed to the increase in gas prices, one of the most significant- rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
“For California specifically, we don’t get any oil or gasoline from Russia, but of course, the tensions are rising oil prices worldwide, and we have to pay those oil prices, so that’s the main issue we’re seeing,” said Montgomery.
Russia is one of the world’s leading oil producers, and if leaders choose to withhold that oil, we’ll likely continue to feel it at the pump.
Montgomery says other reasons we’re seeing high prices are inflation on a national and state level and the state’s early switch to a summer blend of gasoline, which is more expensive to produce than the winter blend.
For now, there appears to be no end in sight, but Montgomery said there are things to consider when trying to save money at the pump.
“It’s more important now than ever to aggressively shop around for the cheapest prices. You can still find many stations out there that are competitive, not great prices, but well below the average,” said Montgomery.
Montgomery said the AAA mobile app will show users the lowest gas prices nearby. “Virtually shop around; make sure you’re not paying that average price,” she said.