Rising gas prices impacting families and businesses in Central California

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Rising gas prices impacting families and businesses in Central California
If it feels like it's costing more to fuel up your tank, that's because it is.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- If it feels like it's costing more to fuel up your tank, that's because it is.

According to Triple A, California's average is now $5.12.

Here in Central California, averages have also hit $5 or more.

In Merced, prices are up more than 50 cents in just the last month, hitting at $5.10.

In Fresno, drivers can expect to pay around $5. Around Tulare costs are just over $5 as well.

Visalia local, Jose Torres, drives about 50 to 100 miles per day for his job.

Money for gas is coming out of pocket, "Gas prices going up is kinda hard for people who have kids like myself," Jose says.

Jose had to downsize, from a pick up truck to a smaller commuter car, he averages about $55-$60 for a full tank, whereas before it was over $100.

"Since gas prices have gone up I had to get this car right here, which is a gas saver for me. I used to have a truck and I would pump almost every day, now it's every other day," Jose mentions.

Hitting the road for the next couple of weeks, will be pricier than usual.

That's because gas prices are now on the rise. Gas-Buddy says it's the highest it has been since October.

Gas prices go up almost every spring for three main reasons: travel increases, refineries go offline for maintenance, and stations switch to "summer blend" gasoline, which burns cleaner but costs more to produce.

"That's something that California requires earlier than anyone in the nation. We've already made the transition to those Car Mandated blends. Refinery maintenance is happening in the spring, generally before the start of the summer driving season, and refineries are essentially doing maintenance to their facilities," says Patrick De Han, Head of Petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Yakoob Mohamad, who goes by Jack, owns Jack's Gas Station in North Visalia. Profit in gasoline comes from how many gallons they sell.

When gas is expensive, stores like Jack's also have to pay a higher price.

At times, their profit drops to 10 cents or less per gallon.

"RIght now, before taxes a gallon I would say, it's about $3.90 but look we sell it right now at $4.89 most of it is taxes also a dollar in taxes, they charge, I think .87c in taxes," explains Jack.

The market changes by the hour. But when prices rise, customers change their habits.

"When gas prices went up I noticed a lot of people cut back on buying, they usually come in and get chips and drinks for their family and stuff from inside. But I noticed we slowed down in site sales too, it impacts us," Jack expresses.

Jack has also noticed overall prices, including deliveries, are going up. To help his customers out, Jack's has done sales, dropping prices as low as three dollars.

"Last year I did 5 de Mayo here, I dropped my fuel below cost. I try to do stuff like that because it helps the customer, and I feel their pain because when you're paying five dollars a gallon, it's a lot of money it adds up."

GasBuddy does mention prices may keep going up for at least a couple of weeks, until they hit a stop and could slightly drop.

You can use interactive tools, like GasBuddy and Waze to search for the best deals on gas in your area.

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