SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The average San Diego family will spend $463 more on gasoline this year if prices stay high, according to a report released today by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in San Diego was $4.37 this week, a jump of 86 cents -- or 25 percent -- in two-and-a-half months, according to the report.
The pain at the pump will force people to cut back on things such as coffee and fast food, the institute's Erik Bruvold said.
"Wherever in their household budgets they have what can be called 'discretionary spending,' (those are) likely the places families will make cutbacks to pay for the gasoline they are consuming," Bruvold said.
San Diego households spent 4.3 percent of their income on gas and motor oil in 2009-10, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The NUSIPR estimated that figure rose to 5.3 percent last year and to 6.2 percent this year.
Because San Diego has no petroleum industry to speak of, the money spent on gasoline goes out of town, Bruvold said.
NUSIPR earlier predicted the region's economy would grow by 1.9 percent this year but, if the fuel prices remain high, growth may be closer to 1.5 percent, Bruvold said.
He predicted people would make minor changes in driving habits to save fuel, but likely not enough to drive down demand and prices significantly.
Five rural school districts as well as two schools in San Diego County's eastern region were closed Tuesday and around 30,000 San Diego Gas & Electric customers were without power because of powerful Santa Ana winds and elevated risk of wildfires.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials will shut down several lanes of traffic beginning Tuesday morning at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry to install equipment in preparation for the arrival of the migrant caravan, the agency said.
Santa Ana winds continued Tuesday to plague firefighters battling the deadly Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties as officials re-emphasized to evacuated residents that they must stay away until the area has been declared safe.
Police on Tuesday were searching for a man suspected of robbing a smoothie bar at gunpoint in Mira Mesa.
Santa Ana winds continue Tuesday, weakening Wednesday through Thursday. Very dry and gusty conditions will continue to bring elevated fire risk through Wednesday.
Santa Ana winds picked up again Monday and were expected to continue into Tuesday as firefighters battling the deadly Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties worked to hold back the flames.
Deputies shot and killed a man Monday afternoon during a confrontation at an East County apartment complex.
Among the Paradise residents that lost their homes to the Camp Fire were several graduates of Chula Vista High School.
Democrats have won two Republican-held California state Senate seats in the Central Valley, giving the party veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature.