SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — One gallon of regular unleaded gas will set you back more than four and a half bucks. Tuesday hit another new record-high average of $4.687 a gallon. That’s more than a buck and a half this time last year, $3.177.
According to AAA, the San Rafael metro has the highest average price of $4.886 a gallon for regular. Along the Central Coast, the San Luis Obispo metro has the highest average price of $4.855 a gallon. A tenth of a cent behind Sunday’s record high.
Santa Barbara metro has an average of $4.641 for a gallon of regular. While Ventura metro has an average of $4.667 a gallon.
AAA spokesman, Doug Shupe, said the auto club is expecting the price of gas to continue to climb over the next week and a half. He said, "As more and more people got vaccinated the desire for travel increased as well. And so we're expecting this is going to be a very busy Thanksgiving holiday week next week. But also a very busy year-end holiday season for travel on our roadways all across Southern California."
86% of SoCal travelers this Thanksgiving are projected to travel by car. Shupe said, AAA projects 4.4 million people will travel for Thanksgiving. And 3.8 million will get there in their cars.
"So even with the higher gas prices," Shupe added, "traveling by automobile is always the number one mode of transportation because it's still the most economical. It's the most convenient, they can leave when they want to leave and return when they want to leave."
It's not just the high demand for gas that's driving the prices. AAA points to two other factors contributing to the record pricing, high crude oil prices and a slow down in production.
"There were some unplanned maintenance issues at refineries in Northern California that were a result of weather," said Shupe. "That's what sent so many prices in Northern California high and lead to our California state-wide average reaching that all-time record on Sunday at $4.68."