Higher Gas Prices Steal From Local Economy

Families choose between food and filling tank

By Bob Hansen
|  Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011  |  Updated 9:14 PM PDT
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Higher Gas Prices Steal From Local Economy

Families choose between food and filling tank.
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Oil hit $100 per barrel on Wednesday for the first time since 2008 and now we’re looking at some of the highest prices at the pump in years. The average price for regular gas in San Diego County is around $3.60.

Young working families are having to make room for a bigger bite out of their budget.

Daniel Detling says every time gas prices go up, she has a decision to make.

"You cut back on everything, on groceries, on clothing expenses," Detling said.

The San Diego mother says planning for the future isn't easy when higher gas prices take money from the family budget.

Every time LeaAnn Sharp leaves her neighborhood she's reminded of the skyrocketing gas prices.

"There's a station right there, the sign is right there in front of my face and I notice every day it goes up," said Sharp.

Alan Gin is an economist with the University of San Diego. He says not only do higher prices hurt family budgeting, but the entire San Diego economy.

"What happens is for every 10 cents that the price for a gallon of gasoline goes up, that takes about $7-million a month out of the local economy," said Gin.

That means families are spending more money filling up their gas tank and less money eating out or buying clothes.

Not only that, but Gin says higher prices hurt consumer confidence.  He says the relationship between consumer confidence and gas prices is about 70 percent.

"So as gas prices go up 10 percent then consumer confidence drops by about 7 percent," said Gin, "because as consumers feel less confident, they are less likely to go out and spend money."

How much are you paying in your neighborhood? Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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