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'It takes food out of their pocket' | How many hours do you have to work to afford a tank of gas?

For minimum wage earners in California, you have to work nearly four hours.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Gas prices are hitting a new record almost every day in San Diego.

According to AAA, on April 1, 2022, the national average for a gallon of gas is $4.21. It's more expensive in California where, in San Diego for example, the average gallon of regular gas is $5.97.

With gas prices so high, CBS 8 is working for you and went to find out how much you have to work to be able to afford a tank of gas.

Jim Anderson is retired and was enjoying a day out with friends when we asked them about gas prices.

"It's horrible!” said Anderson. “It's crazy! It's just ridiculous,"

Matthew Garcia was fueling up when CBS 8 met him and he said, "These gas prices are killing me, man."

And I’m sure many San Diegans can resonate with Garcia.

Garcia said, he knew it was bad, but he was surprised at how long he’d have to work in a day just to afford to fill up his car.

"It's ridiculous because I do work a minimum wage job and I just paid $54.21, that's what I average working four hours," said Garcia.

Kim Cicchetto says gas prices plus her commute are eating away at her income.

"I do 20 miles. I have a good car. But it doesn't matter now. After the pandemic, we're all a mess. We can go anywhere else in the United States and not have to pay this,"

Garcia says it wasn’t always this expensive.

"Around Super Bowl Sunday, February 13 it was like at $4.50 to the gallon and it would cost me $40 to fill up. Now it cost me $55," said Garcia.

In California, the minimum wage is $15 an hour for most companies. Employees on that salary would have to work almost 4 hours to be able to afford to fill up.

Some drivers, like Edgar, say they feel helpless to do anything about it.

CBS 8 asked, "Can you continue to afford the rise in gas prices?”

“I have to, you know. I have to go to work. I have to go do my stuff. I need my car,” said Edgar. “So, whatever the price is, I'm going to have to pay."

Anderson says he feels for people who are likely struggling to make ends meet with the rising costs of fuel.

"People who need to get to work and have to drive, it takes food out of their pockets," said Anderson.

Meanwhile, drivers like Garcia are doing what they can to get the best bang for their buck when it comes to gassing up.

"I try my best to at least fill up weekly. I don't let it get down to 'E',” said Garcia. “I let it get to a quarter of a tank, so I don't spend as much."

Matthew says, there are things you can do to get the most mileage.

"Be smart with the way you drive. Don't drive like a maniac and you'll save your gas."

It also may not surprise you that California is ranked the most expensive state for gas.

Personal Capital, a finance company that studied gas prices across the country, says a gallon of gas in San Diego will buy one and a half gallons of milk, leaving some people having to decide between buying gas or getting groceries.

New York City is number 1 for the most expensive city to afford gas. Los Angeles is the second most expensive, followed by Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix respectively, according to Personal Capital.

WATCH RELATED: Biden oil move aims to cut gas prices 'fairly significantly' (March 2022)

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