Drivers’ wallets bleed as gas prices in LA hit the highest since last year

Commuter students have been hit the hardest as they are forced to limit their trips to campus in an effort to save gas.

Photo of an ARCO brand gas station on Hoover St. in Los Angeles. Some cars are parked to refuel; others are driving by. It is a sunny day and the sky is blue.

Like most Californians, USC car owners are suffering as gas hits its most expensive price since November 2022. Data released by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) reveal the price of the national average rose half of a cent to $3.8 on Friday.

The rising gas prices are affecting commuter students and their presence on campus.

“If I don’t have to come here, I won’t come here,” said fourth year neuroscience student and commuter Yara Akiel.

Biochemistry student Erika Martinez said that gas prices have impacted her use of her car as well. “I don’t really go out just to go out anymore,” Martinez said.

Some individuals who previously owned gas cars are even switching to electric vehicles because of rising gas prices. “My family, a lot of them, just switched to electric cars because [gas prices] were insane. It got a lot more convenient,” said USC student Joselyn Jimenez.

A statement released by Doug Shupe, the corporate communications manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California, said production issues in local oil refineries may be to blame for the most recent jump.

“Oil Price Information Service reports that there have been a couple of unplanned refinery flaring incidents this week in Southern California, indicating mechanical problems that may be affecting gasoline production,” Shupe said.

The national average of $3.8 is getting closer and closer to the $4 mark, seen as a tipping point by many Americans. In a survey of 1,051 Americans conducted by AAA, 59% said they would make changes to their driving habits and/or lifestyle if gas prices crossed $4 per gallon.

In addition to production lagging, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently revealed that August saw world record oil demand.

These events have created the perfect storm for rising gas prices in Los Angeles. Over the past 47 days, gas prices have risen by a total of about 48 cents in L.A., according to AAA and OPIS.