SAN DIEGO — San Diego drivers are paying an average of about $4.73 for a gallon of gas. That’s down significantly from the record $6.43 last October, but prices have increased in recent weeks.
Fed-up drivers are feeling the brunt of what some people and experts call price gouging from oil companies.
Even though San Diegans are paying about the same amount as a year ago, the cost of oil is $15 a barrel less than last year. This suggests that the industry is making near-record profits.
"It's not fair, but I think their game is not to be fair. It's to make money," said frustrated San Diegan, Victoria Machado.
"There’s no logical market reason for what’s happening right here," said Charles Langley with Public Watchdogs.
Oil prices, this year v. last year
OIL PRICE TODAY: $78.50 BBL or $1.86 per gallon of oil
OIL PRICE LAST YEAR: $93.66 BBL or $2.23 per gallon of oil
Langley says refineries are profiting at the expense of consumers.
"Right now, there’s no competition, and that’s why they can get away with this. The oil companies are extremely powerful. They have unlimited funding," he added.
He's calling on the state and federal government to investigate gas prices and the industry’s record profits, saying, "what it says is that there is no relationship between supply and demand and the price of goods and the scarcity of those goods."
Experts predict gas prices will continue to creep up as we approach summer and the state switches over to the more expensive summer-blend gas.
"When summer comes along, I expect to see at least $6, what we were experiencing last year," said San Diegan Loria Clements.
"It’s going to be scary. we’re going to start thinking of other ways – we’re going to start biking in the heat or doing something to figure it out because prices are just insane," added Machado.
"It’s horrible. It's atrocious, which means we’re going to get gouged this summer, and gasoline will easily be more than $5 a gallon. We’re going to see spectacular profits and reports coming out of the oil companies later this year," Langley said.
California refineries are expected to switch to summer gasoline blends sometime in spring.
WATCH RELATED: Newsom calls on feds to investigate soaring gas prices (Feb 6, 2023)