San Diego drivers switching to EVs, making budget cuts to afford high gas prices

SAN DIEGO — Gas prices across the nation are going up. In San Diego County, drivers are seeing a nearly 40-cent increase at the pump, according to AAA.

AAA said the current crude oil prices and intergovernmental affairs are why drivers are shelling out more money. Nonetheless, the high gas prices are impacting people’s budgets and spending, while some drivers are ditching oil altogether by switching to electric cars.

“Oh my goodness, the gas prices is not it, they need to lower it down,” said Kahalya Mohamed, a KIA driver and student-athlete at San Diego City College. “I’m a student, plus I have student loans.”

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Mohamed is also a full-time working mother, who plays soccer at San Diego City College. The $40 Mohamed said she received in student financial aid for gas does not get her a full tank in her KIA that she needs to get around.

“It’s not even half it, just like two to three lines — especially my car, it takes about ten gallons,” Mohamed explained. “The gas doesn’t last a week, less than a week. I would say two to three days.”

Over the last month, gas prices have shot up nearly 40 cents per gallon, according to AAA. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in San Diego is $5.94, compared to last week’s $5.55. The statewide average is roughly $5.76.

There are several factors inflating gas prices, but experts say higher oil prices are the main contributor.

“The cost of crude oil prices represents around 50% to 60% of what we pay at the pump,” said Anlleyn Venegas, the senior public affairs specialist with AAA.

Venegas said high prices are also equal to oil production cuts in Russia and Saudi Arabia, the deadly flooding in Libia, and outages at local refineries. Venegas said drivers could see a 30-cent decrease by the end of October when the state switches to a winter blend of gasoline.

However, Venegas added that “we still have to wait for crude oil prices to come down so we can really see our gas prices come down.”

Amid these high prices, some have sought ways to cost-cut, including by switching to an EV.

“So where do you stand, always going to be EV or go back to gas?” FOX 5 asked Tesla driver Angel Rodriguez.

“Always, I can’t go back gas, I can’t go back, nah,” Rodriguez answered.

Rodriguez said the switch to an EV is a permanent one, especially when delivering Amazon packages as a supplementary job. He explained that he ditched his Chevy Malibu hybrid to avoid having to fil up for $70 to $80 each time.

“I’m over here at a supercharger — guaranteed past good hours at night, $15 bucks. Anything high-end throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., we are looking at max $22,” Rodriguez said.

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Tesla said they cannot comment on specific sales numbers, but said they have seen their sales increase this year for a number of reasons. One of those reasons they pointed to includes state incentives in the form of tax rebates.

“I mean come on, you can’t go wrong,” Rodriguez said. “You cannot go wrong. It’s a great investment I urge everyone to look into. Make that investment and change.”

For those though that still have to hit the gas station, Venegas said there is a list of things drivers can do to conserve gas; drive the speed limit, avoid hard accelerations, and maintain their car. She also suggests shopping around for low gas prices.

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