SAN DIEGO — Following weeks of painful pricing at the gas pump, relief may be in sight as experts expect fuel prices to improve soon in San Diego and elsewhere. Just this past week things began to change and as of Sunday San Diego had seen six straight days of price drops at the pump.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped a half-cent Sunday to $4.063, the sixth consecutive decrease after the average price rose three days in a row to its highest amount since July 27, 2015. The average price as of Sunday was 3.6 cents less than one week prior, but 7.2 cents more than one month ago and 34.7 cents higher than one year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.
Drivers like Matt Smitz say they are emptying their wallets every time they fill up their tanks.
"I used to go to North County and that was over $30 a day. Nobody can afford that,” said Smitz. “So I got rid of my second job because prices were so high.”
Local prices are miserable compared to the Southeast, which is seeing about $3 a gallon for gas meanwhile statewide prices range between $4 and up to $5.
Experts blame a March refinery fire in Carson and other outages with sending prices soaring, but they say relief is on the way. The factors that led prices up are now over, according to GasBuddy experts. They say refinery maintenance is slowly wrapping up and most refineries are back online. Plus, the switchover to summer gasoline is generally complete. In addition, the price of oil has dropped off slightly as well.
Still some drivers aren’t buying it just yet.
“I haven’t noticed it,” said Carey Brown. “Maybe one day they’ll go down, but they seem to go up for me.”
He said he’s thinking twice about road trips
"I’d like to see it below $4 that would be nice, but I don’t see that happening, so it’ll stay like it is,” said Brown.
Until price drops hit the pump, experts say you’ll want to make every drop of gas count. Whether prices are moving lower or moving higher, always think about maximizing fuel efficiency with these tips:
Try to keep your speed below 60 when possible - every five miles per hour above that will cost you an extra quarter.
Remember to keep tires inflated – experts say it’s a good idea to check monthly.
Even with all that in mind, Brown said he is thinking about other ways to save.
"I think I’ll have to get an [electric vehicle] maybe,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it.”