Gas prices have gone up almost every day since the year began. Even though it's only a few pennies at a time, it quickly added up to more than 60 cents locally.
"I'm not sure what the cause is for the spike, but you just got to ride the waves," said Dominick Ferrin, a driver.
There are several reasons for the increase. Doug Shupe of the Auto Club of Southern California says oil prices are up, refineries are going through spring maintenance, the summer blend is arriving at gas stations, and more drivers are on the road.
"People really do want to do something," said Shupe. "Especially as the immunizations are increasing. The restrictions are reducing a bit. People want to take those trips."
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Another reason is the winter storms that hit Texas hard. States like Arizona buy fuel from both California and Texas, but now are relying more on our gasoline after production in Texas fell.
"It's all supply and demand," said driver Cory Carrier. "It's how much supply there is and how much demand."
Shupe has several tips on how to optimize your car's gas mileage and save on gas:
- Regularly maintain your car
- Make sure your tires are inflated correctly
- Replace your air filters
- Lighten your car if you have a lot of unused items inside
- Adjust your driving habits or routes
While some parts of the county have very high gas prices, it's totally possible to shop around.
"I see a lot that are in the $3.80s now," said driver Emily Levin. "This [Escondido station] is $3.33 so there's quite a bit of difference."
Changing what parts of the county you drive through might help you save some money as you refill your tank along your commute.
"Here in California, especially in San Diego, you don't have to go far to find cheaper gas prices," said Shupe.
Other drivers we spoke to had their own advice on how to save money on gas.
"When it's going up, keep your tank full," said Carrier. "If it's going down, wait until a half tank or more and then fill up."
Still others said the price of gas would change how much they commute.
"Luckily, I have a job where I work partially remote, partially at work," said Levin. "I can balance those to work more from home if I need to."
Consumer Bob says experts did predict gas prices would rise compared to 2020, but are surprised it happened so early in the year.