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Drivers feel pinch at pump
BARSTOW • Motorists stopping into Barstow were shocked to see the average $4.65 price tag for a gallon of gasoline at the pump.
While California’s average price for a gallon of gasoline reached record-breaking highs Monday, consumers driving through Barstow are considering staying at home.
Clovis resident Cecil O’Briant was shocked when he saw the $4.59 cost for a gallon of unleaded fuel at one Barstow gas station. O’Briant paid $50 for nearly 11 gallons of gas to fill up his Toyota, after traveling from Texas to visit his grandchildren.
“I drove all over Texas and it was $3.24 and we come out here and it was $4.59,” O’Briant said. “It doesn’t make me feel very good. I feel like everybody should sit at home and just park their car.”
Motorists in Barstow are paying the lowest at $4.55, and the highest at $5.19 per gallon for regular gasoline, according to CaliforniaGasPrices.com.
Drivers in California paid the highest price averaging $4.65 per gallon, while drivers in South Carolina paid the lowest price averaging $3.46 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. Nationwide, motorists paid $3.80 per gallon.
California’s gas prices increased as a result of power outages and maintenance problems at oil refineries in recent weeks, said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. A major fire at the state’s third largest refinery Chevron Corp.’s Richmond contributed to the surge in gas prices, he said.
“Collectively, all of these things created a huge problem for the gasoline supply and that’s what drove prices higher to record levels,” he said. “Consumers are understandably upset, as you know, California has many markets over $4.70 a gallon. And many stations throughout the state are well over $5 a gallon.”
Within the past week, gas prices increased 60 cents at Barstow Fuel, where business decreased about 20 percent, manager Adam Abdul said.
Renee Kelley stopped at Barstow Fuel, where a regular unleaded gallon of gasoline cost $5.19.
“I don’t go anywhere, because I can’t afford it,” said Kelley, who was traveling from San Diego to Las Vegas. “I drive slower, if it gets any higher I’ll take the bus.”
Carol Randall, president of Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, said Californians already deal with a high cost of living and now are paying more at the pump.
“A great percentage of goods come from Long Beach and L.A., and they have to be trucked across the state. Now you are going to haul all these container goods across the state and the fuel is going up,” she said. “They are breaking the backs of the average Californian who are working for minimum wage or slightly over.”
>The Associated Press contributed to this report.