Gas prices reach record level for California as Sonoma County drivers see $5.22 per gallon average

The state average was $5.07 per gallon, which set a record, according to AAA.|

A gallon of regular unleaded fuel cost $5.59 Friday night at the Chevron station at Mendocino Avenue and Steele Lane in Santa Rosa.

Its pumps were bare as motorists flocked across the street to Safeway where they could find a relatively better deal of $5.09 per gallon.

“It’s pathetic that that’s considered cheap,” Healdsburg resident Luke Marshall, 52, said as he filled his Toyota Corolla. “I’m filling up before prices get worse. Then I’m going nowhere all weekend just because.”

Sonoma County residents are paying an average $5.22 per gallon of gas as the price for fuel in California has reached a record level amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, AAA reported on Friday.

“We are paying an arm and a leg for gas,” noted Aldo Vazquez, a spokesman for AAA Northern California. The state average was $5.07 per gallon, which set a record, Vazquez added.

In Sonoma County, AAA reported last year that the $4.83 per average gallon price reached in early November 2021 was the record high. About two years ago, the local average was at $3.12 per gallon.

The national average stands at $3.83 per gallon, which is below the $4.11 per gallon record level reached in July 2008 at the onset of the Great Recession.

The spike has had local drivers scurrying to online sites and crowd-sourcing apps to find lower prices. The GasBuddy site showed on Friday that the Kenwood Super Gas station had fuel for $4.59 per gallon for its cash price for regular gas while it was $5.29 per gallon for credit.

Meanwhile, the 76 gas station in Petaluma near Highway 101 had a $4.69 per gallon price for cash purchases, according to GasBuddy.

The gas hikes also have triggered more local residents to begin the switch to electric cars or hybrid models, said Justin Hansel, vice president of his family’s business of eight dealerships and manufacturers such as BMW, Honda, Toyota and Ford under the Hansel Auto Group portfolio.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase on orders and deposits,” Hansel said.

In particular, the all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning truck has generated a tremendous buzz as Ford has started to notify those who had placed an earlier reservation for the truck if they will receive one this year. The company had to cap reservations at 200,000 last year due to unprecedented demand. Hansel expects to receive its first orders by June.

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