Gas prices have been rising steeply in recent weeks, and Bexar County residents, along with the rest of the nation, are feeling the pinch. Statewide, Texas gas prices hit a record of more than $4 per gallon, according to data from AAA reported Thursday.
In San Antonio, prices also hit a local record on Thursday, climbing to $3.963 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas. That is $1.49 more than a gallon of gas cost one year ago and 62 cents higher than a week ago.
Bexar County prices hovered just below the statewide number, with unleaded gas costing an average of $3.956 a gallon on Thursday.
“Gas prices are climbing at a weekly pace we’ve never seen before, breaking records that set in 2008 across the state,” said AAA Texas spokesman Daniel Armbruster.
Volatility in the U.S. energy market has followed developments in the war between Russia and Ukraine, leading to uncertainty about Russia’s large oil supplies in the global market, according to AAA. This week, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports in efforts to financially strain Russia, with the hopes it will help pause attacks on Ukraine.
AAA warned US drivers that gas prices will likely continue to rise as oil prices spike up to $100 a barrel just in time for spring and summer travel.
“Oil prices have skyrocketed to 11-year highs due to the volatility in global crude markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Armbruster said. “Demand for gasoline will only increase as spring approaches and more people travel. Couple that with rising crude oil prices and drivers can expect to continue to see even higher fuel prices in the days and weeks ahead.”
Still, Texas drivers are faring better than drivers across the country, with the national average price for unleaded gas reaching $4.318 on Thursday.
For San Antonio student Jason Drehobl, whose family relies on their father’s income of $3,100 per month from the VA, the rise in gas prices means missing some church services, taking a break from most entertainment and budgeting to hang out with friends and family, even at home.
“As much as I do support helping Ukraine, helping their people … their children, it of course comes with a cost,” Drehobl said. “I’m willing to put up with inconveniences, even gas prices rising to a certain extent, but in some places, it’s getting up to $4 a gallon.”
Drehobl said they and their mother each have disabilities. They said budgeting and missing church helps to afford making it to their appointments and school. Just under two months ago, Drehobl said they were able to fill up their 2019 Jeep Cherokee for about $30. These days, they said $50 fills the tank.
For Air Force retiree Anthony Rodriguez, the increase in gas prices is an added worry at a time when grocery shopping is costing him more each time.
“What’s happening now is really scary. I don’t know how people are going to make it,” he said. “I’m complaining, but I’m in a good position. But I worry about the younger people like my nephews who are graduating.”
This week, Rodriguez said he paid $35 at the gas tank at $3.99 a gallon for a quarter of a tank of gas for his 2021 Toyota Tundra. As a result, he’s using an electric scooter he bought for his daughter to commute to his job six blocks away. He also said he’s looking into couponing at grocery stores to save money for gas.
“I’m already looking at clumping all my trips together, where I’m not driving around as much,” he said.
According to AAA, drivers in El Paso as of Thursday were paying the most on average, at $4.195 per gallon, while drivers in Amarillo were paying the least, at $3.738 a gallon.