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Salinas gas prices hit a record high, with no relief in sight

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Salinas hit a new record for highest gas price average in history Wednesday — at $4.820 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to data from AAA.

The national average price continues to go up but remains far below California at $3.535. The California average is slightly lower than Salinas, at $4.752 per gallon.

We drove around Salinas Wednesday — the cheapest gas we could find was $4.45 at the DoubleTime on South Sanborn Rd. But on the same street, the Chevron came in at $5.09 for the cheap stuff.

While the Golden State has always been hit hard with gas prices, AAA says it's gotten even worse in recent months for several reasons.

For one, the price of a barrel of oil is pushing toward $100.

"Crude oil makes up about 60% of the price of gasoline," said Aldo Vazquez, spokesperson for AAA. "So when we see the price of crude oil go up, you're going to definitely see the price of gasoline also go up."

And it is — President Biden acknowledging Tuesday that the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine will have a cost at the pump.

"Russia is one of the largest producers of oil behind the United States and Saudi Arabia. So if more sanctions are placed on Russia in regards to the actions that they're taking towards Ukraine, they'll likely withhold their oil from the global oil market, and that will cause pressure on an already tightened global supply," said Vazquez.

The country is also still dealing with inflation stemming from the economic recovery of the pandemic.

And in California, Senate Bill 1 brings an automatic gas tax hike every summer. Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed pausing the tax hike, which he says the state can afford thanks to the budget surplus — if he receives Democratic support in the state legislature.

So in the meantime, how can you save some change at the pump?

AAA says to make sure your car is in good working order so it can run efficiently, shop around using gas price apps to find the cheapest in your area, consolidate your trips when leaving the house and be a good driver.

"That means not speeding, don't do any kind of hard accelerating and following the speed limits. It's going to help you save and serve a lot of your gasoline," said Vazquez.

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Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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