Fact Check: California Gas Prices Are NOT $6-Plus Per Gallon On Average -- But There Are Exceptions

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: California Gas Prices Are NOT $6-Plus Per Gallon On Average -- But There Are Exceptions Missing Info

Are California gas stations pricing gas at over $6 per gallon? No, statewide the average gasoline price is $4.39 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association. But there are exceptions. An AAA spokesperson said that $6-plus prices may be accurate for some stations in Los Angeles or San Francisco. And an industry analyst said the station whose $6-plus prices are shown in a post is "one of the highest priced stations even in California and is a poor example of prices around it."

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on August 9, 2021. The post showed a gas station sign with the "full serve" prices $6.09, $6.34, and $6.54 displayed. The caption was:

Damn, California.... Really?!

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Aug 10 17:39:15 2021 UTC)

Lead Stories emailed the AAA chapter in California on August 10, 2021, for some clarification about this claim. A spokesperson for AAA responded the same day saying that stations in wealthier areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco may have prices that high, but the average price for regular gasoline sold in the state is much lower at $4.39. The spokesperson also noted that only the price for full service (pumped by an attendant) is seen in the photo, not lower-priced self-service, which is how most Californians get their fuel.

Lead Stories also contacted Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, an app that helps drivers find gas for a cheap price in their immediate area. De Haan responded on August 11, 2021, saying the gas station in the photo is in Beverly Hills. He added:

First off, the photo potentially intentionally blocks the price of self-serve regular ($4.99/gal) and only shows the full service of $6.09. Secondly, this station has routinely sold at prices high above averages around the area. There is little competition and this station is in an affluent area. This represents one of the highest priced stations even in California and is a poor example of prices around it. There is a nearby Costco selling fuel 90 cents per gallon lower than this station's price of regular self-serve.

De Haan let us know where the gas station in the claim was located. It was a 76 station at 427 N Crescent Dr. in Beverly Hills, California.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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