NewsLocal NewsSan Diego News

Actions

Fuel For Thought: Solutions to get the most mileage out of your car

gas pump station car fuel
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 21, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Making ends meet for the majority of Californians has become quite the challenge.

"There’s a lot of other things I can’t do because I’ve got to pay gas you know what I'm saying? Less food, less play time you know what I’m saying? I got to put gas. I got to go to work right," Al Porsche said.

Record high gas prices are now seemingly set every week.

Currently, California has the most expensive gas prices in the nation at $6.39 a gallon, according to AAA. San Diego prices are just under the state average at $6.34.

"I usually put a full tank like $60 and now it’s like a $100, it depends on where I go," said Porsche.

RELATED: San Diegans feeling the pinch as inflation rate skyrockets, gas prices soar

Since 2016, Al Porsche has been driving full-time in San Diego for Uber, Lyft, and Door Dash. The Iraq combat veteran says he provides a vital service to the community.

When times are tough and people don’t know where to turn — Al is ready to swoop in.

"People need help. You have people with doctor’s appointments, they want to see their grand kids, they have a job interview, or whatever the case is I want to be there for them."

Porsche weaves in-and-out of traffic from sunrise to sunset. His 2017 Honda Accord can get 32 miles on the street, and 37 miles per gallon on the freeway.

But despite his fuel friendly import the Army veteran still feels the squeeze.

"When I first started driving to fill up this car cost $60 that was pre-pandemic, right now currently its $80 to $100 dollars."

The war in Ukraine is pushing prices higher due to supply concerns and overwhelming demand.

"It’s outrageous what the war in Ukraine is causing and we’re trying very hard got 240,000 barrels coming from."

The big question everyone is asking — when will the fuel prices begin to stabilize?

Some experts say not any time soon. With summer in full swing and hurricane season upon us; it’s hard to believe but gas prices could surge even higher.

RELATED: Treasury secretary says inflation is here to stay

"The overall era of high prices could stick around for several years. Keep in mind if a hurricane hits refineries or oil production it could take months for supply to get back to normal."

Getting by with just the necessities is Al Porsche's new normal.

"I only get what I need not what I want because it’s a necessity. Necessity is food and stuff that’s healthy for me keep me going and subsistence. Not want…want is going to break the bank."

To avoid breaking his bank account; not only is Porsche cutting corners; he pays close attention to the trends in gas pricing as he navigates the county.

"If you can, buy on base or at Costco."

If you’re not a current or former military member and can’t pump gas at one of the local military bases you might want to check out the prices at Costco. There’s a reason why many San Diegans are willing to endure the long lines.

On average, Costco is around 40 to 50 cents cheaper than the San Diego County average.

On Monday, ABC 10News looked up Costco prices on gasbuddy.com and found one of their locations selling regular gasoline for $5.89. That’s 43 cents cheaper than AAA's listed county average of $6.32.

"Almost every station on GasBuddy's list of lowest prices in San Diego is now Costco. I think they’re passing down inevitable discounts much faster. Cheers to Costco for bringing down prices."

Industry analyst Patrick De Haan of gasbuddy.com says Costco can charge less because the big box giant takes a lower profit margin.

Also, it's because Costco sells a lot gas so quickly. That means other gas stations are possibly still selling fuel they purchased at peak prices while Costco is selling gas it bought more recently at a lower price.

University of San Diego Economics Professor Alan Gin says it's important to note that the majority of Costco’s profits are derived from membership fees.

"I filled up at Costco yesterday myself. The bulk of their profits come from membership fee, they can afford to take some losses on the chicken and hot dog and now maybe even the gas, if that gets people to sign up then for these memberships," said Gin.

If you can’t afford the membership, ride share driver Al Porsche advises to research the prices online.

"Do not fill up along the coast...drive inland," said Porsche.

He also says his mental is more positive when he fills up on half a tank.

"It’s feels a lot better paying $50 rather than $100," said Porsche.

Porsche wants his fellow San Diegans to remember that life is full of potholes and you’re not alone.

"We’re not alone we’re all going through something whether you want to say you are or not. What were going through is temporary, happiness is just as temporary as sadness like when you get hurt you get a bruise or scratch you heal then you go on about life."

RELATED: Uber charging customers new fuel fee for rides, delivery

Since the rise in inflation Uber and Lyft have added a surcharge for drivers to help offset the high gas prices for drivers. Prices have risen 45 percent between 2019 and 2022, according to E-commerce giant Rakuten.

Here's another fuel for thought. Did you know you should not top off at the gas pump?

That extra squeeze will likely splash out or evaporate and make sure you screw your gas cap until it clicks. About 17% of vehicles have loose, damaged or missing caps causing 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate every year.