Some Lodi-area residents seemed somewhat philosophical about the price of gas going up 40 to 50 cents per gallon during the past week in California. Others were upset that they have to tighten their budgets even more.
"What are you going to do?" said Rick Bentz of Lockeford as he pumped gasoline at the Chevron station at Ham Lane and Lockeford Street. "There's nothing you can do."
"I feel so blessed that I live right down the street," Kimberly Halligan said.
However, she feels sorry for her daughter, who uses a lot more gas due to her commute from Sacramento to Roseville.
Lodi and other Californians woke up to a big surprise last week, when gas prices increased in the 30- to 50-cent range in one night. The Chevron station at Ham Lane and Lockeford Street charged $4.49 per gallon for 87 octane on Thursday, while medium-grade gas was $4.61 per gallon and premium went for $4.71 per gallon.
Lodi resident Mike Seaters, 31, said the entire economy is in bad shape when you include rental costs and electricity prices in the city of Lodi. He has a girlfriend and 2-year-old son to support.
"It's my day off, but I can't go out and do anything," said Seaters, who bought only a single gallon of gas on Thursday afternoon.
"When I was young, I went to Disneyland, the beach. I had lots of fun," Seaters said. "Now (my son) has to play in the yard."
Connie Duffy of Lodi has a different outlook.
"I don't look at the prices anymore," she said as she put gas into her Chevy Suburban.
But doesn't she look at the gas prices enough to see if she can afford an out-of-town weekend trip?
"I've got a motorcycle for that," her friend, Matt Barnes, said. "But it still costs 20 bucks to fill my (motorcycle) tank."
Erik Schmidli said he has to drive to the Bay Area on business frequently, but he's concentrating more these days on seeing three or four Bay Area clients on the same day instead of one at a time.
Schmidli noted how much more gasoline costs in California. He recalls the time almost two years ago when he crossed the California-Arizona border. A gas station on the Arizona side of the border charged 50 or 60 cents less per gallon than a California station two miles away, he said.
James Sherman is a 16-year-old junior who commutes daily from his home in the Lockeford-Clements area to Lodi High School. Despite his tender age, he feels the increased gas price because he has to pay his gasoline costs himself.
"I try not to spend as much money on other things," Sherman said. "It's too much money, way too much."
The AAA expects the national average to decline in the coming months as demand drops off following the busy summer driving period. During early fall, refineries switch from a summer blend of gasoline to the less expensive winter blend, according to the AAA.
Gas prices in California have skyrocketed over the past week due to a tightening of fuel supplies caused by shutdowns at Tesoro and Exxon refineries, according to Gov. Jerry Brown's office. Last week, Brown directed the California Air Resources Board to take emergency steps to increase the state's gasoline supply and bring down fuel prices.
"They're greedy; they do what they want to do," Duffy said of the oil companies. "I'm not buying all their explanations."
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.