Motorists across the US are grappling with gasoline prices that are reaching new records almost daily, but the pain isn’t evenly distributed across the nation. Take the handful of locations where a gallon of regular fuel now costs as much as the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
It’s a painful threshold that prices at the pump have reached in at least 15 stations — all in California, according to GasBuddy. Granted, the minimum wage in California is far above the federal minimum, with workers in the state earning at least $14 an hour, but paying $7.25 a gallon or more still takes a chunk out of the typical paycheck.
On average, California drivers are paying more for gas than drivers in any other state — an average of $6.19 a gallon as of June 1, compared with the national average of $4.67 a gallon, according to AAA. That is partly due to higher taxes in the state to pay for infrastructure and other costs, but there’s also something that economist Severin Borenstein of the University of California, Berkeley, calls a “mystery gasoline surcharge” — a price gap that can’t entirely be explained by fees or other factors.
Here are the 15 service stations in California charging more than $7.25 as of June 1, according to GasBuddy:
- Furnace Creek Fuel at CA-190 in Furnace Creek: $8.55 a gallon
- Chevron at 31251 Goffs Road in Essex: $8.29 a gallon
- Chevron at 901 N. Alameda St. in Los Angeles: $7.95 a gallon
- Chevron at 30811 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu: $7.79 a gallon
- Fort Dick Market at 6670 Lake Earl Dr. in Crescent City: $7.70 a gallon
- Roy’s Gas at 87520 in Amboy: $7.69 a gallon
- Mobil at 8489 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles: $7.49 a gallon
- Shell at 900 North Hill Street in Los Angeles: $7.45 a gallon
- Chevron at 51557 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.39 a gallon
- Shell at 453 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.39 a gallon
- Valero at 377 Main St. in Bridgeport: $7.35 a gallon
- Shell at 125 Sharon Park Dr. in Menlo Park: $7.29 a gallon
- Mobil at 4349 Laurel Canyon Blvd. in Studio City: $7.29 a gallon
- Shell at 51424 US-395 in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon
- Mobil at 22 Vista Point Dr. in Lee Vining: $7.29 a gallon
As Americans returned to work after the Memorial Day weekend, average gas prices jumped to a record $4.67, up from $4.18 a month ago and $3.04 during the same period last year, according to AAA.
Elsewhere around the US, Patrick De Haan, an expert on oil and gas prices, warned in a Memorial Day tweet that gas prices could continue to rise in the Great Lakes region and in Florida, where a gallon of regular in cities such as Tallahassee and Palm Beach already costs $4.69, according to GasBuddy.
Drivers spending thousands more on gas
Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the economy, driven by concerns about the highest inflation in 40 years and a stock market that has plunged due to fears of a recession,to a new CBS News poll. While motorists continue to fill up at the pump, they are cutting back on spending in other areas — like dining out — to compensate.
The impact of high gas prices is adding up: the typical household is now spending $4,800 on gas at an annual rate, compared with $2,800 a year ago,to Wall Street analyst Ed Yardeni.
Unfortunately, analysts aren’t forecasting that gas prices will recede anytime soon. De Haan thinks there’s a good chance prices will hitwhile an even more pessimistic analysis from JPMorgan recently forecast the national average by August.
Borenstein of Berkeley recentlyCBS News that he doesn’t foresee $2 or $3 per gallon gas anytime soon. That’s because crude oil prices have jumped in the past 12 months, and world demand for fossil fuels is rising even as supply is lagging, he noted.
“Even beforewe were seeing the production of oil lagging. Producers in the United States are reporting they’re having a hard time getting workers to come back to the oil fields,” Borenstein said. “They’re having supply-chain problems with parts and equipment.”