GasBuddy listed San Luis Obispo County’s average gas price of around $4.34 per gallon as the second-highest in California as of Sunday, Oct. 6. Only Mono County has a higher average price per gallon of gas, at around $5.10 per gallon.
Fuel Insights ranked California as having the most expensive average price per gallon of gas at around $4.18 as of Oct. 6. Hawaii has the second highest average gas price at around $3.63 per gallon, according to Fuel Insights.
Gas prices within the county increased over the week as well. The Oct. 6 average price was around $0.33 higher than the Sept. 27 average of around $4.01. California averages as a whole also increased within the past week. According to Fuel Insights, they rose from around $3.89 to $4.17.
As a result, drivers in the county — both residents and Cal Poly students — are having to pay extra at the pump. Many said they were not pleased with the higher gas prices.
San Luis Obispo resident Brittany Armstrong said she now pays $50 for gas with the increase in prices, compared to the $30 to $40 she used to pay.
“I’d rather ride a bike if I have to, because it’s getting kind of ridiculous,” Armstrong said. “This is the most expensive I’ve seen [gas prices] here.”
Armstrong said she fills up at least once a week due to her job as a behavioral therapist for children with autism. This job requires her to travel around to meet her duties in that role.
English sophomore Sarah Willis said she is even more affected by the price increase, as her car only takes premium-grade gas.
“I automatically have to take the more expensive gas anyway,” Willis said. “So the new increases in prices are hurting me that much more.”
Willis also said she relies on her car to get to school.
“It’s not like I have a choice to not drive to campus,” Willis said. “I don’t have a bike, the bus doesn’t come by my house, so it just makes my entire life more expensive and slightly inconvenient.”
GasBuddy’s Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan said higher gas prices across the state were caused by “refining issues.” De Haan said the issues themselves are not usually specified, as refineries do not provide specifics on day-to-day operations.
Based on previous incidents, these refining issues could range from mechanical to technological problems, according to De Haan. These incidents are known as “flaring events,” according to De Haan.
“These refineries are tremendously complex,” De Haan said. “Any slight, small breakdown in these small processes could temporarily derail the entire process.”
De Haan said flaring events can vary in length before subsiding and can impact gas prices from short periods of one or two days to longer time frames. The 2015 Torrance, CA refinery explosion was a flaring event that increased gas prices for an entire summer, according to De Haan.
However, De Haan said this flaring event was more temporary and that prices will stabilize “within the next five to seven days” before eventually falling again.
“I think the worst of the increases are behind us,” De Haan said.
Attendants at multiple gas stations declined to comment.