San Diego Gas Prices Have Been on the Rise, Making College Students Pinch Their Pennies

Photo credit to Rachel Lemmen.

San Diego gas prices hit a new high over the end of September and beginning of October, reaching an average of $6.363 according to the San Diego Union-Tribune quoting AAA and as of Oct. 2, the national regular gas average was $3.814, according to AAA quoted by NerdWallet.

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two highest exporters of oil in the world, have been reported to continue their cut to oil exports to tighten supply and raise demand despite the United States and Western countries arguing that lower prices are necessary to support the global economic growth, according to Reuters.

Rosco Williamson, professor of political science at Point Loma Nazarene University, said, “The demand is pretty even, I think. It’s the supply situation that really becomes the issue and the threat that in the future the supply might be lower.” 

Williamson said that the political status between countries affects the prices of oil and therefore gas. The U.S. has banned Russian oil for gas since the war with Ukraine, limiting the source of foreign fuel. 

“America has kind of gotten into the oil business in the last 20 years way more than it ever did before,” Williamson said. “And so we have a better supply of oil than we did in the past, but, you know, those other things like what the situation is with the Middle East, what the situation is with Ukraine, those are all going to impact those oil prices.” 

At PLNU, students with cars are feeling the financial strain of gas prices.

Abbey Mandagie, a third-year biochemistry major who commutes to campus from the Mission Bay area feels the stress of paying for gas as an unemployed college student.

“For me, I have been pretty stressed about it recently just because I currently do not have a job so that’s been really stressful,” Mandagie said. “That’s been pretty difficult to see like $90 go out the door when I go to fill the tank.” 

Desiree Luna, a third-year biochemistry major, drives from National City for classes; the commute is sometimes over an hour. 

“I think for me, I have a job, so I see myself working more now to pay for gas,” Luna said. 

Robbie Mandagie, a first-year biochemistry major, drives from the east side of Mission Bay. 

“The price has been going up quite a bit recently, so I was originally paying $50 two months ago now it’s up to $70-$75. It’s definitely making it a bit harder,” Mandagie said. “I’m definitely going to have to get a job soon just because it’s expensive and it adds up a lot, especially on top of other fees you have to pay for daily living.” 

Apps such as GasBuddy can help students find gas stations close to them at the lowest prices. According to Luna, maximizing gas mileage by planning to leave earlier so you can drive slower and reducing the number of times you step on your gas by leaving before and after traffic can help make gas last longer. 

Fernanda Santillan, a 2023 PLNU alumnus, said she saved money on gas while in college by not filling up on the weekends when prices usually spike but got the best prices on gas between Tuesday and Thursday.