Drivers on the Central Coast are seeing some relief as gas prices fall at the pump.
“This is something that drivers have really been waiting for, for a long time,” said AAA spokesperson Doug Shupe.
A sudden drop at the pump has gas prices in the state falling below five dollars a gallon this week for the first time in months.
“This is typically the time of year when we see a lull in the demand. It’s between the Thanksgiving travel period and the year-end travel period. So, demand for gasoline is down and inventories are high,” explained Shupe.
Gas prices were at $4.794 at Chevron in the Village of Arroyo Grande on Wednesday.
The cost of regular was around $4.85 at other stations across town.
It’s a trend also seen in Lompoc, the Santa Maria Valley, and northern SLO County.
“Certainly, paying below five dollars a gallon is better than the mid-five range or even above six dollars which is what we saw earlier this year,” added Shupe.
Gas prices, however, are still well above $5/gallon at many San Luis Obispo gas stations.
“There might have been a few dollars’ difference but it’s not enough for me to actually notice,” said San Luis Obispo resident Chloe Palmer, who commutes from San Luis Obispo to Atascadero and says that high prices are still cutting into her budget.
“I try to budget and go with the flow. Obviously, I’d love for it to be cheaper. It is expensive but I’m not sure there’s any normal for me anymore,” she said.
Others have made the switch to electric but say that it’s not that much cheaper than gassing up.
“Since we live in California, electric prices are really high so it’s more like driving a 50-mpg car than saving a whole lot of money so if you have a Prius, it’s probably the same,” said Atascadero resident Kate Miles.
Gas prices, meanwhile, are expected to continue falling across California. GasBuddy reports the average price of regular could go down by another dollar per gallon.
“This would be real welcome news for drivers who are planning year-end road trips,” said Shupe. “Throughout the year, drivers have been suffering with not only inflation but the higher pump prices.”
AAA says prices could go up again as demand spikes before Christmas.