Historically high oil and gasoline prices have some Marin drivers rethinking the need to get behind the wheel.
Record prices are partly spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but conflict is far from the only factor. Average gasoline prices had already skyrocketed in the Bay Area months before the invasion began.
The average price of gasoline has soared above $5 a gallon for the first time across the Bay Area – and all of California – in an unprecedented rise that is poised to fuel trouble inflation in the region.
On Tuesday, drivers at the Shell gas station on Irwin and Second streets in San Rafael found their cheapest option for regular unleaded gasoline at $5.69 a gallon.
San Rafael’s Bill Wilson said he had no choice but to use his car for errands, despite record gas prices.
“When you need gas, you have to get it,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t really bother me, because I only use one tank a month, since I retired.”
However, he said the cost could affect his plans to take a road trip to Washington next month.
Mario Cassettari also said that as a retiree at San Rafael he rarely drives. Gas prices make him “much more cautious about where I’m going.”
“I have family in Concord and Petaluma, and it kind of affects when I can go see them,” he said.
He said his wife had recently purchased a hybrid vehicle, but he wasn’t considering giving up his new gas-powered pickup truck.
Sydney Le of San Rafael said she was surprised to see the price drop from $4.99 per gallon.
“It’s a bit high for me, but I’m going to work very close, at Novato,” Le said.
Suzy Konrad stopped in Novato to refuel as she traveled from her home in Las Vegas, Nevada. She said she was shocked by the price of fuel.
As a professional driver, Konrad said, “I have a gas subscription, which gives me a little discount. I’m lucky at this point because I’m canceling my stuff for taxes, but if I was in my personal car, I’d be crying.
As she finished filling her car’s gas tank, Konrad said, “I have to go to the bank to get more money. I didn’t want to do this, but now I have to.
In the Bay Area of nine counties and several adjacent to the region, the average price is above $5 a gallon, according to the latest AAA gasoline price survey released Friday. Tuesday, Marin’s average fuel price hit $5.63 a gallon, beating Sonoma County at $5.57 and San Francisco at $5.59, according to the survey.
In the one-year period ending March 4, average gasoline prices jumped 37.2% in the Bay Area, 36.8% in California and 39.8% in the USA. The average price per gallon in the United States is $3.84, according to the AAA survey. That means gas prices in the Bay Area are 35% above the national price average of $1.34 per gallon.
Marin County Bike Coalition executive director Tarrell Kullaway said she believes with rising fuel and maintenance costs, more people will see bikes as better alternatives for traveling in Marin.
“Commuting is actually a very small percentage of all the cars you see out there,” Kullaway said. “The majority of people who cycle in Marin do so because it’s the cheapest way to get where they’re going.”
The Bay Area News Group contributed to this report.