Americans across the country have felt the pain of extraordinarily high gas prices in recent months, but those in one area of the country may soon be faced with a price that never seemed possible before — $10 a gallon.
While the national average in the United States is currently $4.81 per gallon, according to the AAA, the average price in California, which has the highest prices in the country, is $6.29. But in the village of Mendocino, a coastal community north of San Francisco, a gas station is nearing the $10 mark. The New York Post reports that a Chevron gas station there was charging $9.60 a gallon Friday.
The station, Schlafer’s Auto Body & Repair, is the only one in the small town, and according to Gas Buddy, Saturday prices there were $9.63 regular, $9.72 midsize, $9.94 premium, and 9 $.30 for diesel. According to a California county breakdown by AAA, the average cost per gallon across Mendocino County is currently $6.31 per gallon. This number aligns with data reported to Gas Buddy showing that gas stations at a Quest Mart in Ukiah and a Redwood Valley gas station in Redwood Valley have the highest price elsewhere at $6.09 per gallon.
Surprisingly, the high price in Mendocino also does not reflect a higher income level for the area, which would likely explain such high costs. According to the United States Census Bureau, the median household income in the city from 2016 to 2020 was $50,915. For the entire state, the median income was $78,672. For comparison, the city of Hillsborough, California, just south of San Francisco, had a median income of over $200,000 at the last census. Hillsborough itself has no gas stations listed on Gas Buddy, but the nearby town of Burlingame, with an average income of $138,344, has prices ranging from $5.99 to $6.69 per gallon.
As for the price in Mendocino, gas station owner Judy Schlafer told SFGate.com that she needs to calculate the price she has because she paid $50,000 for an 8,800-gallon delivery this week, and she needs that balance pay within 10 days. She worries that fewer fees would put her out of business.
“I’ll be lucky if I get through the year with all the fees, the regulation, the payslips,” she said. “If things continue like this, Mendocino will not have a gas station next year.”
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