The seaside town of Mendocino has a single gas station called Schlafer’s Auto Body & Repair.
Yesterday, coastal resident Galen Bach took a picture of the gas pump and thought it worthy of posting on social media. For the regular price of gasoline, a customer of Schlafer’s would pay $8.45, which is just shy of double the national average of $4.25, and 42% more expensive than the average gallon of gas in California.
Patrick De Haan, the Head of GasBuddy.com’s Petroleum analysis team, told us that the price per gallon at Schlafer’s has “a very strong likelihood that this is the most expensive station in America.” De Haan reviewed GasBuddy’s records of current gas prices across the United States, and he told us, “I can’t find any more expensive at the present moment.”
Last summer Schlafer’s made national news for officially being considered the most expensive fuel in the country, at that point charging $6.73 for a gallon of gas. Owner Judith Schlafer told SF Gate’s Freda Moon after she learned their station was currently the most expensive in the country, “It has to be that way, or I’d be out of business.”
Galen Bach, according to him the “best chimney sweep ever”, told us he has had to raise his service prices across the board on the coast. He is paying more for parts, gas, and the general cost of living. He remembered buying six bags of groceries recently at Mendocino’s Harvest Market and paying $455.
Currently, the North Coast of California has one of the most expensive gasoline markets, as per AAA’s County Gas Prices map.
The map provides a county-by-county breakdown of the average cost of a gallon of gas. Coming in first place on the North Coast is Humboldt County at $5.70, second Del Norte at $5.64, third is Sonoma at $5.57, fourth is Trinity at $5.41, the fifth is Lake at $5.43, and coming in sixth for the cheapest gas currently on the North Coast in Mendocino County at $5.35. Worth noting, it looks like Mono County, east of the Sierra Nevada mountains has the state’s highest gas prices at $6.02.
It was just yesterday that California’s average gas price crept above $5 per gallon for the first time in history. De Haan told the SFGATE yesterday that he could see California’s average gallon of gas costing $6 and a growing number of gas stations charging $8 or more.
This dramatic rise in gas prices is the result of a multitude of forces converging including the deliberate dialing back of domestic oil production in 2019, sanctions against Iran and Venezuela decreasing worldwide supply, the pandemic’s heightened demand for petroleum-based products such as medical plastics, the recent sanctions levied against Russia, and finally a number of taxes specific to the state of California.
Bach told us that when he posted the photograph of gas prices in Mendocino, a heated political debate erupted on his Facebook profile with many Trump voters blaming Biden for the gas prices.
Putting aside politics, the dramatic rise in gas prices has got this father of three thinking about money in a completely different light. With these prices, Bach said, “I have three kids I’m raising. It’s not easy at all.”