Bay Area gas prices continue to soar

March 3, 2011 6:30:16 PM PST
Gas at over $4 a gallon is here, and it may climb higher with each passing day. Prices shot up because of unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa over concerns that oil supplies could be disrupted.

According to AAA, in this past week alone, the country saw the largest increase in gas prices per gallon in a single week since 1990.

If it seems like just about every day you're seeing the price at the pump go up and up, you're not seeing things -- it's a fact. AAA says the average price per gallon Thursday in California is $3.81. Yesterday it was $3.78 and just last week, $3.60.

"Certainly we have been seeing three cents here, three cents there and overall if you were to look at the past week, we're talking about 18, 19 cents, depending on where you are in the Bay Area," said Matt Skryja with AAA Northern California. "So it is an above average increase."

Above average -- that's code for painful, especially for the people who have to drive for a living; people like Earl Herrick of Earl's Organic Produce Market. Now, it's not just the delivery man paying more, as gas prices rise the price at the pump starts to trickle down.

"We fold the price increase of gas into a cost of doing business, so we add it to our bottom line and the cost of the product going out to the customer," said Herrick.

In San Francisco, it's not unusual to now see the price pass $4, even though the average is $3.87.

Luxor Cab owner John Lazar is thankful for a city ordinance that requiring cabs to reduce emissions. Alternative vehicles make up most of his fleet.

"It's really been a good play for us to do that and city to require us because drivers put an average of 120 to 150 miles per shift," said Lazar. "And gas prices were going from $60 to $80 to $90 in a 10-hour period."

But not all taxi drivers are so lucky.

"Before I would say $19, $20, $21 for a 5-hour shift. Now I'm spending $24 to $30," said taxi driver Charles Hawkins. "Less money for me. Fortunately, I've got a great wife. She's got a good job."

AAA says there is no telling how bad this will get -- they say it's like trying to predict who wins the Super Bowl. But analysts say the national average, which is currently $3.43, will reach $3.50 per gallon in the next week. There are probably lot of Bay Area drivers who wouldn't mind paying that price compared to what we're paying now.

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