Tahoe City has gas: AAA frequently tabs community with highest fuel prices | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City has gas: AAA frequently tabs community with highest fuel prices

Matt Welch
Sierra Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Another month, another report citing Tahoe City’s gas prices as among the nation’s highest.

Mike Sabol, manager of Tahoe City Shell, doesn’t buy it.

and#8220;No,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I’ve traveled down 395 and between here and Vegas. It’s higher than this.and#8221;

But the American Automobile Association of Northern California and#8212; and some of Sabol’s customers and#8212; disagree.

AAA Northern California issues monthly alerts on gas prices in what it calls 25 and#8220;metro areasand#8221; in the northern half of the state. This month, Tahoe City ranked highest with its $3.30 price for a gallon of regular gasoline. The Tahoe City area’s price was also the highest in the lower 48 states, AAA spokesman Matt Skryja said.

and#8220;The term metro is perhaps used loosely,and#8221; Skryja said. and#8220;The surrounding area there of Tahoe City is what’s being gauged.and#8221;

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According to the same AAA reports over the past few years, Tahoe City frequently is ranked as the priciest community for gas in the lower 48 states.

Yreka, Calif., had the closest rate in Northern California, at $3.17 per gallon. Tahoe City also ranks way above the California average of $2.96. AAA’s lists, though, don’t include stations in rural or remote areas, Skryja said.

and#8220;There are stations in rural areas that are not considered part of a metro area that are not surveyed,and#8221; he said.

The Oil and Petroleum Information Service provides AAA with the gas information, working with credit card companies to obtain instant prices with each card swipe, said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director for the oil service. Rozell said he’s confident in the numbers because they come directly from the stations and survey an entire area, something people traveling can’t do for themselves.

and#8220;They wouldn’t know that because they don’t get all the site prices,and#8221; Rozell said.

Filling up his orange Jeep at the Tahoe City Shell station on Monday, Tom Leigh said prices in Tahoe City are 50 cents more than what he pays in Sacramento, where he lives. But with a small tank like his, Leigh says, and#8220;you’re stuck.and#8221;

and#8220;If I had more range, I would deliberately not fill up here,and#8221; he said.

Next door at the Chevron station, where Monday’s price was $3.29 for regular gas, Bay Area resident Slava Zhakoe said he fills his black Chevy Tahoe at the lake and#8212; when he has to.

and#8220;I always try to fill it somewhere else,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It never works.and#8221;

Sabol said state taxes and environmental regulations have driven up prices some. Monday’s price at the 76 station in Incline Village, Nev. was $3.09, 20 cents less than at Sabol’s station.

and#8220;All this environmental stuff costs a lot of money,and#8221; he said.

Different fuel specifications requiring special refineries and higher fuel taxes propel California’s gas prices to higher than in other states, Rozell said.

and#8220;California is more expensive in general,and#8221; he said.

Tahoe City Chevron station cashier Jose Moreno said he tries to fill up away from Tahoe in order to save money, going to Reno or Carson City if possible.

and#8220;(Tahoe City has) a high price for gas,and#8221; Moreno said. and#8220;It’s true.and#8221;