Like most who are tired of being taken at the pump, Glen Yamashiro
was singing the blues.
At a Unocal 76 station on Victory Boulevard, Glen Yamashiro was
putting $20 worth of gas into his 4Runner.
“I have no choice,” said Yamashiro, a loan officer who must drive
for his job. “I don’t bother filling it up [all the way] any more.
Twenty dollars is probably half a tank. [The prices are] still going
A downed pipeline in Arizona and problems at six of the 22 gas
refineries in California have led to the spike in gas prices,
according to Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the Auto Club of
Southern California, which tracks regional gas prices and problems.
“Speculation and profiteering is going on too, there’s no two ways
about that,” Spring said.
Spring said the average gas price in Southern California on Monday
was $2.07, up 40 cents from Aug. 8, when this spike began.
“The bright side is, the refineries are getting up and running,
and the pipeline was open [Sunday],” Spring said. “They say it’ll
take a few weeks for all storage tanks to get back up to speed in
Phoenix, but it’s happening.”
Every day, Jean Sehic makes the commute from Canyon Country to Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, 40 miles with some
uphill driving each way.
During the past three weeks, those hills have gotten steeper, or
at least more expensive.
Tuesday morning, Sehic pumped a small fortune into her Volkswagen
Golf at the Chevron station on Foothill Boulevard in La Canada
Flintridge. Unleaded gas cost $2.15 a gallon, the peak of a
three-week climb that has put the pinch on wallets.
“It’s totally insane,” Sehic said. “I can’t take Metrolink because
it would take too much time.”
La Canada Flintridge resident Steve Buttgenbach was resigned to
paying $18 for just a half-tank of gas for his Toyota 4Runner.
Buttgenbach has been driving back and forth between his home and Del
Mar for work.
“Naturally, nobody likes [the higher prices],” Buttgenbach said.
“But I guess we’re better off than the folks in Phoenix.”
According to Spring, price relief isn’t far off. After the Labor
Day travel rush, prices should start dropping.
“Typically, it goes up like a rocket and down like a feather,”
Reporter Darleene Barrientos contributed to this report.