Rising gas prices hit harder than Will Smith’s slap


Image by Abigail Vargas

Person spends a whopping $65 for 12 gallons of gas at a Sams Club gas station where the gas is cheaper than at regular gas stations.

As gas prices in the U.S. rise, California hits a record breaking average of $5.80 per gallon, the price has gone up to $6.00 in some places and hasn’t lowered much.

The prices in California on April 28, 2022 have an average of $5.68 according to the American Automobile Association or AAA. People that drive can feel this difference in cost and how much it increased the spending for them.

Image by Isaac Lichtman
Cruising down the 210 freeway on a weekend, with family.

“Before when it was cheaper I spent $40 on gas now I’m spending $65 on gas,” says Sydney Sherred, a Mt. SAC ECA junior. “I pay for my own car insurance, so it just takes a lot of money…like over $1000 every 6 months expensive.”

For Sydney, who took a trip from California to Arizona during spring break, “the gas was definitely an aspect and we stayed closer because we would have to pay for gas on top of paying for hotel rooms, and things you want to do while there.” Sydney further explains how her and her family had to pay for gas 4 times going from California to Arizona and back.

Sherred continues, “Thankfully we didn’t need to stay in a hotel because we had family over there so we stayed with them. But if we had to stay in a hotel, we wouldn’t have gone.”

These rising prices aren’t only affecting people who drive cars, but also people who are thinking of flying or have flown these last couple of months. “[The] plane tickets were a couple hundred dollars more than they used to be, maybe like three hundred dollars more,” said Ms. Wilcox, the Mt. SAC ECA US History teacher who plans to take a trip over the summer via plane.

For some people, the prices are more annoying to deal with. “I don’t think it’s created much of a problem…cause it is just you know a twenty-dollar difference a week plus, that’s a whole other $80 dollars a month,” Ms. Wilcox shared, “I understand the reasons why and I try not to let little things like $80 dollars a month upset me too much, cause there’s a lot worse that could happen.”

Another factor that increased the cost of gasoline was the sanctions on Russia because of the Ukraine war. These bans on trade were focused on controlling imports of oil and gas to and from, to further punish Russia for the war, but it also increased the cost of gas greatly in the US. “I know that gas prices are rising because of sanctions put on Russia…so I’m willing to do my part to economically hurt Russia so maybe we could end the war sooner,” Ms. Wilcox adds.

Other factors like the lifted mask mandate on March 12 have impacted prices by increasing it slightly. Due to the lifted COVID-19 restrictions around the US, which led to the increase in the cost of gas because people began using cars and gas more often. When it was lifted, companies were slow to start increasing production of oil and that impacted their cost. In 2020, during quarantine when car usage was at an all-time low, the cost of gas was also very low; in April of 2020, it cost an average of $1.94 per gallon in the US, according to CBS News.

In many places around California, such as Los Angeles, gas prices have exceeded the average of $5.80 heading well over 6 to a high of 8 dollars. Texas, on the other hand, has an average cost of $3.78 for gas compared to California.

Due to recent increases in gas prices, Governor Newsom proposed the rebate to compensate for the extra expense California residents are spending on gas. The rebate is expected to be $400 in debit cards which California Residents will receive sometime in July. Although the rebate isn’t finalized, people will only get two rebates per person and will depend on how many registered vehicles they own. Another part of receiving the rebate depends on the value of the vehicle. If the value of the vehicle is above a certain amount then you won’t get the refund, but more information about the gas rebate is unknown and undetermined.

“Pumping gas” picture from www.creativecommons.com
As the cost of gas increases more people are more careful as to use their cars. (Image by By futureatlas.com)

It is unknown when gas prices will start to decrease here in California or anywhere else. Despite that Ms. Wilcox explains, “I am not worried, I think gas prices will fix themselves eventually, I don’t think it’s going to stay six dollars forever.”