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Economist: High Gas Prices Likely to Stick Around Through Holidays

According to data from AAA gas prices have soared to a seven-year high, reaching a nationwide average of $3.41, that's $1.28 more than a year ago

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If you stop for gas these days you may be left with lighter pockets than expected.

"I'm now paying $5.09 a gallon," said Rita Bander, a San Diego resident. "I’ve never seen them this high, never never.”

"I just filled up $82," said Jordan Martin, San Diego resident. "[It's] kind of a lot for me because I know that a month ago I could get a full tank for maybe $70.”

According to data from AAA gas prices have soared to a seven-year high, reaching a nationwide average of $3.41, that's $1.28 more than a year ago. And in San Diego, the prices are much higher.

"The current average in the San Diego area is now $4.62 for a gallon of regular unleaded," said Doug Shupe, spokesperson for AAA. "That is seven cents more than a week ago, 22 cents more than a month ago, and $1.47 more per gallon than a year ago.”

"It's a tough situation," said Alan Gin, an economics professor at the University of San Diego.

Gin says the increase is in part due to the economy opening back up.

"When the pandemic hit in 2020, OPEC cut back their production a lot, because worldwide oil demand was down," said Gin. "And so the price [of oil] plunged to where it was at one point below $10 a barrel. Now, as the world economy is starting to ramp back up, there's more use as far as oil is concerned worldwide and that's caused the price of oil then to go from less than $10 a barrel to over 80."

As the holiday season approaches and more people hit the roadways, Gin says high gas prices will most likely stick around.

"I think that maybe in early 2022, as travel abates we might see a little bit of relief as far as prices are concerned," said Gin.

For now, to help ease that financial pain, AAA has some tips:

"Adjust your driving habits don't speed because the faster the vehicle is moving, the more fuel you're burning park in the shade when you can to lessen the heat buildup inside the cabin of the vehicle," said Shupe. "And when you're going out on your road trips for the holidays, try to get everything inside of the trunk of your car instead of using those overhead luggage racks because that creates drag and reduces fuel efficiency."

Quick tips as we all await some relief.

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