While biking and walking are popular modes of transport around town, Coronado still feels the pain of record-high gas prices. The American Automobile Association (AAA) reported the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline on April 4, 2022 was $4.19 while California averaged $5.85. On this same date Coronado’s Sinclair and Shell gas stations charged $6.09 and $6.49 respectively.
The dubious title of most expensive gas in San Diego is often a close race between gas stations in Del Mar, La Jolla, and Coronado but in recent weeks Coronado Shell has taken the top spot. However, Los Angeles often has the highest gas prices in the nation with some stations charging up to $7.00 a gallon.
As the war between Russia and Ukraine shows no signs of ending and post-pandemic customer demand continues to increase, employees at both Coronado’s local gas stations don’t expect prices to decrease significantly in the near future.
The United States recently announced an increase of 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help address the current high gas prices. While Coronado gas prices have not yet fallen, any relief would be welcome as prices remain around $2 per gallon higher than this same time last year.
Coronado High School teacher Tara Haslam shared, “The price of gas right now is outrageous. Luckily, I live here and don’t have to drive far for work. My husband has to drive over 25 miles to and from work every day so the expensive price of gas definitely affects him. It is also frustrating that gas is more expensive here on the island. Sometimes I forget to fill up before I come home, and then I have to fill up here and it costs a lot more. I only have a 15 gallon tank and it costs almost $100 to fill up! I hope that there is an end in sight sometime soon.”
Local teenagers are not immune to the high gas prices. Coronado High School senior Caroline Welsh says she prefers to drive her family’s golf cart and ride her bike to avoid spending money on gasoline. Caroline commented, “I see people riding their bikes and walking more. We are lucky to live in a place where we can get around without using gas.”
Both local gas stations are operated as licensees of larger brands Sinclair and Shell. The licensing agreements have operating guidelines, but individual gas stations set their own prices based on multiple factors including the bulk price of fuel, local and state taxes, customer demand, and operating costs which include the high real estate costs for the prime Coronado locations. Many gas stations make high profits from their convenience stores, but neither Coronado location has a large retail operation making them more reliant on revenue from gas sales. Coronado gas stations also face an additional logistical challenge as Caltrans does not allow gas trucks on the Coronado bridge, so they must deliver through Imperial Beach and Silver Strand Highway.
Unfortunately, some customers that are displeased with the high gas prices have expressed their frustration to the gas station workers. Sinclair employee Ellie shared she has noticed a recent change in customer’s behavior, “As gas prices have gone up, customers have been complaining and being rude.”
With gas prices expected to remain high through the summer, AAA reminds drivers they can improve their gas mileage by avoiding fast starts, abrupt stops, and speeding and making sure they properly inflate their tires — combined, these efforts can improve fuel efficiency up to 30 percent.
Fortunately, many in Coronado have the option to enjoy low-cost transportation on foot or human-powered wheels that doesn’t depend on gas at any price.
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