East Bay residents weigh the costs of California’s sky high gas prices


Since the beginning of the year, gas prices across the state have increased by almost three dollars, with an average gallon of gas costing between four and seven dollars. Due to inflation, Russia’s war in Ukraine and other reasons, gas prices might be at their highest point ever—something especially upsetting to East Bay residents who need to commute long distances to work.

“The gas prices in California are outrageous compared to other states, and knowing that we have all these gas refineries around us, I just think it’s unfair,” said Terrence Montell of Pittsburg. Another Pittsburg resident, Khaleea Hunter, said the rise in cost for gasoline is impacting low earners the hardest.

“Gas prices are pretty high, especially for people who have low incomes and are considered low or middle class,” Hunter said. According to the East Bay Times, consumer prices had risen by 8.2% in September compared to the same month a year earlier. It also stated that lowering gas prices could reduce overall consumer inflation for a third straight month. 

With inflation at its highest period in the last 40 years, consumer prices such as groceries and retail goods are rising, and gas is one of the places where people are feeling it the most. This can get challenging for East Bay residents, given the already sky-high cost of living in California and the continuing hike in prices with each passing month. 

For some residents, they have to fill up their tanks to get to school, work, or even run errands. Sometimes it can be hard trying to pay other expenses on top of gas. 

“I drive a Mitsubishi and it takes me about $80 to fill it up—-and yes, it does take away from other things I need to pay for,” said Perla Galarza, a retail associate at Concord’s Sunvalley Shopping Center. 

Pittsburg resident Montell said he has a Dodge Challenger, and a full tank of gas for his vehicle currently costs $110. “It most definitely affects my everyday living, because it takes away from me buying groceries and other things,” Montell said. “But you have to put gas in your car to go work and make money, so [there’s] no other choice but to pay those prices.” 

In particular, some East Bay residents have expressed frustration that unlike other states where gas prices have returned to a relatively normal cost since the summer, in California the price per gallon continues to fluctuate wildly.

  “I feel that it should be at a set price, for instance, two-fifty to three dollars should be the max, and it shouldn’t be based on inflation because everyone cannot afford inflation rates,” said K’sha Borum, a student at Diablo Valley College. 

Borum added that it’s not only people who work 9-to-5 jobs, but commuting students like her who are bearing the brunt of the price hikes for gas.

“Sometimes it does affect me going to school or work, due to the fact I don’t live close to work or school,” she said, “not to mention [that] I already have to pay a bridge toll to get both. So paying both gas and toll can be difficult sometimes.”