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Central Coast sees some of the highest gas prices in the nation amid Russia sanctions

Gas prices at the Chevron station on Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo surpassed $6 per gallon Monday afternoon.
Rachel Showalter
Gas prices at the Chevron station on Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo surpassed $6 per gallon Monday afternoon.

If you’ve been to a gas station in the last week, you’ve likely noticed the price at the pump skyrocketing.

"We are just one penny away from a new all time record high. Gas prices have absolutely exploded in the last week,” said GasBuddy petroleum analyst, Patrick De Haan.

The U.S. hit and surpassed that record Monday, now seeing the highest average national price of gas ever.

By Monday evening, the national average had risen to $4.12 per gallon. In California, the price was much higher at about $5.37 per gallon.

San Luis Obispo County had some of the highest prices in the state, averaging $5.52 per gallon.

“It has been absolutely staggering to watch the pace of increases,” De Haan said.

As of Monday evening, Gas prices were up about 51 cents across the country since last week. De Haan said this increase is due to the Russian war on Ukraine as U.S. sanctions limit Russia’s oil exports.

De Haan said global consumption of oil is about 100 million barrels a day. Russia contributes about 10 million.

“Suddenly, with the loss of Russian oil, the balance has been significantly tipped in a way that we have never fully seen before,” De Haan said.

Many stations in California are already charging more than $6 a gallon.

De Haan said there is no sign that prices will drop any time soon.

Alex Rayas is the general sales manager at the Hyundai dealership in San Luis Obispo. He said even before Russia’s invasion, his business was seeing impacts of high gas prices.

“We fill up all our new car sales with a full tank of gas, so we’ve noticed an increase in our monthly gas bill as well,” Rayas said.

He said high gas prices are spurring a shift in the types of cars people are interested in buying.

“I would say probably in the last six months, the demand for electric and hybrid has just skyrocketed,” Rayas said.

Going electric can certainly eliminate the ups and downs of dealing with changing gas prices. And a number of rebates are available through federal, state and local agencies.

But De Haan said if you’re feeling the brunt of price hikes right now, little changes like slowing down on the freeway and adjusting your tire pressure could really make a difference.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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