San Diego drivers are facing the highest gas prices ever for the Labor Day weekend, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego is the same as the Los Angeles-Long Beach area at $5.37, per AAA.
Gas prices climb due to supply and demand factors
The surge in gas prices is driven by a combination of supply and demand factors, experts say. On the supply side, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies have agreed to maintain their production cuts until April 2023, limiting the global oil output. Additionally, some refineries in the U.S. have experienced outages or maintenance issues, reducing the domestic supply of gasoline.
On the demand side, the summer travel season has increased the consumption of gasoline, especially as more people are vaccinated and eager to travel after the pandemic lockdowns. The Labor Day weekend is expected to see a significant increase in travel compared to last year, as more Americans plan to hit the road or fly to their destinations. According to AAA, more than 42 million Americans will travel this Labor Day weekend, a 60% increase from 2020.
San Diego drivers look for ways to save on gas
San Diego drivers are feeling the pinch of the high gas prices, as they have to pay more than $1.47 above the national average of $3.90 per gallon. Some drivers are looking for ways to save on gas, such as using apps that compare prices at different stations, driving less or more efficiently, or switching to electric or hybrid vehicles.
AAA also offers some tips to help drivers conserve gas, such as:
- Making sure tires are inflated to the correct level
- Avoiding “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations
- Slowing down and driving the speed limit
- Using cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed
- Minimizing your use of air conditioning
- Keeping your engine tuned and your oil changed regularly
- Removing excess weight from your vehicle
- Planning your trips ahead and combining errands
Gas prices expected to moderate after Labor Day
While gas prices are unlikely to drop below $5 a gallon anytime soon in San Diego, some experts predict that they will moderate after Labor Day, as the summer travel season ends and the demand for gasoline decreases. Alan Gin, an economist from University of San Diego’s Knauss School of Business, said that U.S. oil producers are projected to have record oil production this year, which could help in terms of moderating the price increases. He also said that as more people buy electric cars, the demand for gas could drop further in the future.
However, other factors could still affect the gas prices in the coming months, such as hurricanes, geopolitical tensions, or COVID-19 variants. Doug Shupe, a spokesperson for the Auto Club of Southern California, said that drivers should be prepared for volatility in the gas market and budget accordingly.