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Relief on Gas Prices Could Come by Christmas

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Gas industry analysts say there's likely relief on the way for California drivers fed up with high gas prices but caution it may not arrive until Christmas.

"Consistently keeping California high, it has the nation's highest gasoline taxes. It has it's own blend of gasoline. And California's a bit of an island. That means it's disconnected from the rest of the country in terms of infrastructure like pipelines," says GasBuddy Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

Gas prices have raced to historic highs in the past year across the country and in California.

According to Triple A, a gallon of regular gas in the Bay Area was roughly $3.40 at this time last year. It has since rocketed up to $4.87 -- a 43% increase overall.

"Families are struggling because of these prices," says Anna Palma.

Palma says every time she needs gas she's struck by the inescapable economic reality that filling up your tank now empties out your wallet.

"The car that I usually drive, I would say it's close to a hundred dollars to fill up my gas tank," she said.

Many drivers say that as long as they're paying more at the pump, they actually find themselves driving less.

"I'm definitely cutting back on what I'm going to do for the holidays financially," says Brandi Badalyan.

Industry analysts say the president's decision to dip into the nation's strategic oil reserves is likely to lower prices at the pump. However, they caution that other factors like Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement of fracking ban in California in 2024 might offset the change.

Drivers have little control over the supply side of the oil and gas industry. But analysts say consistently high prices may make some consumers take a hard look at switching to electric vehicles.

"My guess is that with prices over five dollars a gallon, you would certainly get more people thinking about an electric vehicle," says San Jose State University Urban and Regional Planning Professor Asha Agrawal.

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