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Gas prices rise in SLO, Santa Barbara counties ahead of Labor Day weekend

gas prices sept 1 2023.jpg
Posted at 5:55 PM, Sep 01, 2023

This Labor Day, high gas prices are an extra expense for those hitting the road for the holiday weekend.

Dakota and Esther Lykins say they are in town for the coming week, visiting the Central Coast from Hawaii.

They say back home, they rarely pay more than $4 for a gallon of gas; but here, it is a different story.

“I have never paid for gas like the prices here. It is crazy high!” Dakota Lykins said.

In the past month, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Santa Barbara County rose to just over $5.30 per gallon, nearly a quarter more than in August.

“We flew into LAX and I was pretty shocked by the gas prices here. I thought maybe it would go down as we got closer to home, but they just kept going up,” Esther Lykins added.

Esther says she was born and raised on the Central Coast and visits regularly. But after living in Hawaii for the past year, she says seeing the gas prices in her hometown was a rude awakening.

“It was crazy! Because they have to ship the gas out to Hawaii, you would think there would be a premium on it and it would be more expensive. But no, it is a lot more expensive here,” she added.

“For a full tank of gas, I think it was about $95, right around there. In Hawaii? Maybe $50,” Dakota said.

AAA credits the recent surge in gas prices to hurricane season, as the extreme weather could have impacted supply and slowed production at oil refineries.

Experts also say demand for gas has shot up in correlation with the increase in holiday travel.

In turn, the Lykins say they have been hunting for the cheapest spots to fill up.

“I think anyone who has to commute, say if you worked in Orcutt and had to commute to Nipomo or something like that, it is unbelievable how much of your paycheck would go toward that,” Esther said.

In San Luis Obispo County, meanwhile, drivers are also paying more per gallon than they did last month, with that average currently sitting just shy of $5.55 per gallon.