Sunday, January 29, 2023

Owner of the Mendocino County Gas Station Currently the Most Expensive in the United States Speaks Out— ‘It Is What It Is’

Schlafer’s Autobody and Repair in Mendocino [Picture by Chris Castleman]

Judy Schlafer’s gas station, Schlafer’s Autobody and Repair, is an artifact from a bygone era. If one of the countless road-trippers exploring the North Coast were to get off Highway 1 at the town of Mendocino and pulled into Schlafer’s, there’d be no food or drink in sight. They provide an oil change, new windshield wipers, basic auto repairs— the offerings of an old-fashioned gas station. 

At the gas pump though, that road-tripper might be in for a surprise. Yesterday, the price of a regular gallon of gasoline–$8.62–would jettison any hint of nostalgia Schlafer’s might have conjured.

Regular unleaded gasoline yesterday cost $8.62, the highest price for a gallon of gas in the United State [Picture by Galen Bach]

For the second day in a row, Schlafer’s Autobody and Repair has the unique designation as the most expensive gas station in the United State of America. GasBuddy’s Petroleum Analysis Head Patrick De Haan confirmed yesterday after reviewing GasBuddy’s real-time gas price data from around the nation that the Mendocino Coast gas station is the most expensive.

Just to paint a more vivid picture, let’s consider some of the more common vehicles on the road and the cost to fuel them if at Schlafer’s. A 1997 Toyota Corolla would cost $113.78 to fill up from empty. A 2016 Toyota RAV4 SUV would cost $137.05 cents to fill its tank. A 2018 Toyota Tacoma would cost $181.88 to fill.

Schlafer has lived and breathed her gas station since 1968 when she married the shop’s namesake. In 2004, she took on the task of running the station alone and told us she has had nine days off since then. 

When we asked her what it was like to have the most expensive gas in America, Schlafer matter of factly said, “I have no choice. I have to do what I’m doing.” 

Schlafer went on to explain that her gas station is independently operated rather than a franchise. Her station does not sell food or drinks, often the profit centers of franchised gas stations, Schlafer told us, which requires her to make up the income in her gas prices.

Schlafer criticized the media for framing her attempts to make a profit as anything but good business practices. Referring to her prices, she said “It is what it is, I’ve got to pay for my next load of gas.”

Schlafer’s has no food or drink at the establishment, which owner Judith Schlafer points towards as one of the reasons her gasoline is so expensive [Picture by Chris Castleman]

Empathizing with her customers, Schlafer said her pocketbook is also hurting. “Gas prices are blowing my mind. I am buying the fuel, too.” 

When asked what she thinks is happening that would cause gasoline prices to skyrocket, she said, “What I think is going on is they are keeping people busy with this. They want to take us over. They want this one world bull****. It’s all a big game.” She also added that she had no idea why “anyone would vote for that Newsom fella.”

Speaking of California State Governor Gavin Newsom, he told Californians in his State of the State speech on Tuesday evening that he would be “submitting a proposal to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices.” The specifics of the proposal have yet to be announced.‘s De Haan told the SFGATE on Monday that price forecasting indicates Californians should see a slowdown in the gas prices rising this week. As to when a drop in these prices could occur, De Haan says he does not know. He predicted that California’s average gas price, currently $5.67, could be near $6.00 with more and more stations charging $8.00 for a gallon of regular gas.

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  1. “I have no choice. I have to do what I’m doing.” …..Lady you’re price gouging. If you are paying what anyone else on the coast is paying for wholesale gasoline your making 100% profit !

    • Slow yer roll papa. Read…think…reflect…

      You may have noticed, IF (BIG “IF”) you read the article, that the station doesn’t have other products, like almost all other fueling stations, to make up the shortfall of the cost of doing biz.

      FYI, Profit is what’s left after ALL the expenses are PAID.

  2. Each time I was there, No one was working. It was closed up and had to use card at the pump. Just there a month ago on a busy sunny Saturday!

  3. They don’t have any competition so they can charge whatever they want. Shes a liar if she says it’s about what she pays for gas. She’s always charged at least 7$ for gas. It’s bullshit.

  4. Everything is expensive in Mendocino. Get used to it or drive to Ft Bragg and save a few bucks.
    Some small town gas stations run 1-2 dollars high and you end up with water in the tanks because they sell little fuel over long periods. Try US 140 from Alturus to US 95 North of Winnemucca Nev. Only one gas station in the middle.

  5. Furnace Creek, CA Death Valley area is more expensive, so this station isn’t “most expensive in the country.” At least as of 3/10. R-$8.75, M-$8.99, P-$9.23, D-$9.99. Go to Gas Buddy, and search “Furnace Creek, CA” … Prices still show today.

  6. So where is the law enforcement and lawyers? Isn’t price gouging illegal. And don’t try to justify location Gas is still cheaper in a remote town in Alaska the can only be gotten to by air.

    • Not price gouging. Perfectly legal to charge what you want IF there’s no state of emergency. Dumbasses need to learn the law before ignorantly running their mouths

  7. When all else fails, sue!
    Few speak out when our civil rights are taken but hit us in the wallet and we scream like children being tortured. That started every war in America’s history. Tea Tax, Whiskey Tax, land grabs and genocide, greed is our grease that keeps us rolling.
    Something for nothing? I got this bridge I could……

  8. […] “In a past interview, Judy Schlafer, the owner and proprietor of the service station, told us her prices are influenced by the fact the shop acts as an independent business, not a franchise of Chevron. Her business does not sell food and drink, the goods that most often bring profit to gas stations across the United States. […]

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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