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Gas prices continue to climb
gas pic
Gas prices are increasing throughout the state and in Turlock, but drivers can find the lowest prices at Arco gas stations throughout the city. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

California’s gas prices are steadily on the rise, and Turlock residents are digging deep into their pockets to get from point A to point B.


According to AAA Northern California, the average price of the state’s unleaded regular gas on March 14 was $3, a $.01 increase from the week before, up $.12 from a month ago and $.41 higher than a year ago. These prices are the second highest in the nation, with only Hawaii having a higher price of $3.07.


In Northern California, the average price for regular gasoline is $2.95, up $0.15 from a month ago. Of Northern California cities surveyed by AAA, Marysville posted the lowest price at $2.71 and South Lake Tahoe has the highest average at $3.23.


Turlock’s unleaded regular gas price average sits at $2.75, while the average throughout Stanislaus County is even higher at $2.81. Though these numbers seem low compared to other areas in the state, Turlockers are still feeling the sting of increasing prices.


“It’s ridiculous,” said Turlock resident Lucy D. Machado. “I have to go to work in Ceres, and I notice the high prices a lot more now that I commute. With just one job and a fixed income, it’s pretty crazy.”


Machado added that she has had to cut back on the amount of groceries she buys in order to make up for money lost on gas. Keeping an eye out for the cheapest gas prices around town helps as well, she said.


Drivers can find the most affordable gas prices in Turlock at Costco, where members enjoy gas priced at $2.57. For non-Costco members, the next best option is Arco, where gas can be found for $2.59 as of Friday. Chevron boasts the city’s highest gas prices at $3.19.


“It’s hard to get anywhere,” said Merced resident Shad Vanover, who was filling up in Turlock after a trip to Emanuel Medical Center. “We’re going to have to be coming to the hospital a lot, and to do that and go to work, we’re paying a lot just to make it places.”


The current gas prices in California are the highest in nearly five years, and although nationally prices are declining, refinery maintenance and the process of switching to summer-blend gasoline is impacting prices on the west coast. In GasBuddy’s Fuel Price Outlook for 2017, senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan described 2016 as “the year of cheap gas,” while 2017 is expected to be the opposite.


“…2017 will not be a repeat of 2016 with prices notably higher, and while we’re unlikely to see record setting highs, we will see more cities with gas prices rising to their highest in three years,” said DeHaan.