Silicon Valley drivers feel pressure at the pump


With gas prices at an all-time high in California and around the U.S., local residents are digging deep into their wallets.

Gas prices have soared to an average of $5.69 a gallon in California as of Thursday, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago. The nationwide average of $4.31 breaks the July 2008 record of $4.11. In California, added taxes and fees for environmental regulations and road and bridge repairs push gas prices to the highest in the nation.

At the Shell gas station at 6097 Snell Ave. in San Jose, regular gas costs $5.99 a gallon.

Big John from San Jose said gas taxes are needed to pay for roads. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

Big John, 43 from San Jose, said he isn’t concerned with the price of gas. He doesn’t have an alternative mode of transportation for work, but said people do have the option of buying an electric vehicle. He did not provide a last name.

“How are you going to pay for the roads without gas (taxes)?” he said, referring to Senate Bill 1, a state law that established fuel taxes and vehicle fees to fund road maintenance, safety and street improvements for counties and cities.

Los Gatos resident Kate Osdras said she doesn’t have another way to get to work besides driving. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

Kate Osdras, 34 from Los Gatos, said she lives in the mountains. Her car is the only option to get to work.

“I’m fortunate enough not to be pinched financially so I’m not worried about it,” she said, adding she thinks a gas holiday—eliminating all the fees and taxes—would help people.

Pouria J. is a gig worker for DoorDash. He said if gas prices keep increasing, he won’t be able to do his job. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

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At the Calco gas station at 6095 Cahalan Ave. in San Jose, gas costs $5.47 a gallon.

Pouria J., 39 from San Jose, delivers food part-time for DoorDash. He said he fills up three times a week and saw prices increase 30 cents at one of the cheapest gas stations in the area.

“It’s affecting my job and my life,” he said, adding if gas prices continue to increase he won’t be able to keep his job.

Curtis Bakich, 57 from San Jose, needs a large vehicle for his job as a DJ. It costs him $160 to fill up his SUV halfway. Bakich said current gas prices are crazy and make him angry with the Biden administration.

“We need to start producing here at home again,” he said. “While Trump was a little rough around the edges, we were enjoying $2 gallons of gas because he understood manufacturing our own oil and not being dependent on others, like Russia, is how we get to keep our prices down and affordable.”

Oil from Russia makes up less than 2% of the U.S. supply, according to an NBC News analysis of U.S. and European oil data.

San Jose resident Christopher Gutierrez plans to drive less due to rising gas prices. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

Christopher Gutierrez, 18 from San Jose, views the high cost of gas as a collective effort to support Ukraine. He said he’s willing to spend more for Ukraine, but will be driving less as he has a gas guzzling car.

“I’m okay with it,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s for a better cause.”

Desiree Juarez from Patterson fills up daily as she drives to work in San Jose. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

At Arco gas station at 5498 Monterey Road in San Jose, gas costs $5.69 a gallon.

Desiree Juarez, 19 from Patterson, fills up daily as she drives to work in San Jose.

“I really do wish it wasn’t like this,” she told “It definitely needs to change.”

Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected].

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