Gas prices take drivers on a wild ride

Amanda El Khoury

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Saving money on gas has become a priority for students following the Aug. 6 Chevron Richmond Refinery fire.

Edith Manuel, a freshman computer science major, commutes from Downtown Los Angeles three to four time per week to save money.

“My parents don’t have a car and I don’t want to buy a car,” she said. “It’s expensive (and) I don’t mind taking the bus.”

According to the L.A. Times, the refinery is the third biggest in the state and an important source of fuel. It can produce 243,000 barrels of fuel a day when running at full capacity. For now, Chevron has not released how much diesel and gasoline it can produce.

Gas stations, however, have already released new increased gas prices.

According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, the price for regular gas in the Los Angeles area last month was $3.777 and as of Aug. 20 the price was at $4.118.

The Los Angeles area is not the only city being affected by the raise. AAA Fuel Gauge Report stated that the price for regular gas in Orange County has gone from $3.748 in July to $4.094. It was also stated that the price in Ventura is at $4.110 compared to $3.764 from last month.

Marie Montgomery, a spokesperson for the Automobile Club of Southern California, explained that most of the impact has happened already.

“We saw an almost immediate reaction in the market, almost a 20 cents increase in 10 days or less,” Montgomery said.

The AAA Fuel Gauge Report stated that a year ago the price for regular gas in Los Angeles was $3.713, which means that there has been a total rise of 0.405 cents.

“It’s hard to say for sure what will happen in the future. During prior years when gas prices are following a normal pattern, during winter and fall gas tends to fall. Usually, we’ll see the lowest prices of the year in December and January. It might come even sooner, but that is normally what we see,” Montgomery stated.

Montgomery explained some ways that drivers can prepare for higher gas prices including paying more attention to how you drive because a driver can improve their fuel economy by 20 to 50 percent by being a calmer driver. Also, drivers should be checking their tires every other time they fill up or every other week.

“If you drive your car as if there’s a raw egg under your gas pedal then you’ll know how much pressure to put,” Montgomery stated.

The rise in gas prices has had a mixed effect on students and professors at CSUN. Jon Craine, freshman psychology major, commutes from Central Los Angeles up to four times a week. Craine explained that he only spends $30 per week on gas.

“I don’t drive many places and I have a decent car,” Craine stated.

Mark Schilling, professor of mathematics, explained through email that he is hardly affected by gas prices.

“I drive a car that gets reasonably good mileage, don’t live that far from the university, and don’t take a lot of unnecessary trips. I only spend $100 (to) $150 (per) month on gas, so an increase or decrease in the price per gallon really doesn’t have a big affect on me,” Schilling stated.

The mystery of what will happen to gas prices in the upcoming weeks is just that, a mystery.

“It’s really anybody’s guess,” Montgomery stated, “We’re hoping that this is the worst of it and hoping that gas prices will come down in the fall and winter. We only have a few refineries in California and some of them have been closing down. When one refinery goes down for whatever reason it has a big impact on our prices.”