Motorists across the U.S. are grappling with gasoline prices that are reaching new records almost daily, but the pain isn’t evenly distributed across the nation. Take the handful of locations where a gallon of regular fuel now costs as much as the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
It’s a painful threshold that prices at the pump have reached at nine stations — all in California, according to GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan, an expert on oil and gas prices. Granted, the minimum wage in California is far above the federal minimum wage, with workers in the state earning at least $14 an hour, but paying $7.25 a gallon or more still takes a chunk out the typical paycheck.
On average, California drivers are paying more for gas than drivers in any other state, according to AAA. The reason is partly due to higher taxes to pay for infrastructure and other costs, but there’s also something that economist Severin Borenstein of the University of California, Berkeley, calls a “mystery gasoline surcharge,” or a price gap that can’t entirely be explained by fees or other factors.
Gas prices remain at record highs as Americans head into the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer, when millions of people hit the road for vacations or to visit to family and friends. But despite soaring fuel prices, most drivers are still filling up, with AAA forecasting that 39 million people will travel more than 50 miles from their homes this holiday weekend — a jump of about 8% from a year earlier, when gas was about $3 a gallon on average, AAA said.
Here are the service stations in California charging at least $7.25, according to GasBuddy:
- Chevron at 901 N. Alameda St. in Los Angeles: $7.83 a gallon
- Chevron at 51557 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.39 a gallon
- Chevron at 712 North CA-127 in Shoshone: $7.39 a gallon
- Shell at 453 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.39 a gallon
- Valero at 377 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.35 a gallon
- Mobil at 8489 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles: $7.29 a gallon
- Shell at 51424 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon
- Mobil at 22 Vista Point Drive in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon
- Chevron at 3600 Alameda Drive in Menlo Park: $7.25 a gallon
Drivers spending thousands more on gas
Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the economy, driven by concerns about the highest inflation in 40 years and a stock market that has plunged due to fears of a recession,to a new CBS News poll. While motorists continue to fill up at the pump, they are cutting back on spending in other areas — like dining out — to compensate.
The impact of high gas prices is adding up: the typical household is now spending $4,800 on gas at an annual rate, compared with $2,800 a year ago,to Wall Street analyst Ed Yardeni.
Unfortunately, analysts aren’t forecasting that gas prices will recede anytime soon. The national average could jump to $6.20 a gallon by August — up from the current price of $4.60 a gallon,to JPMorgan. And Borenstein of Berkeley recently CBS News that he doesn’t foresee $2 or $3 per gallon gas anytime soon.
Crude oil prices have jumped since a year earlier, and world demand for fossil fuels is rising even as supply is lagging, he noted.
“Even beforewe were seeing the production of oil lagging. Producers in the United States are reporting they’re having a hard time getting workers to come back to the oil fields,” Borenstein said. “They’re having supply-chain problems with parts and equipment.”