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Business

Santa Barbara Drivers Changing Their Habits as Gas Prices Stay on the Rise

Average price for a gallon of unleaded is up 6 cents from a week ago and is predicted to pass $4 next week

Some Santa Barbara motorists are changing their driving habits to save money as gas prices close in on $4 a gallon.

The average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in Santa Barbara was $3.987 on Thursday, 6 cents higher than a week ago. The price is 13.8 cents less than it was a month ago but 98 cents higher than it was this time last year, according to GasBuddy.com. The national average is $3.665, and $3.936 statewide.

Motorist Eric Gervase said the rise in gas prices means he drives only when necessary.

“If it’s small stuff from the grocery store we try to ride bikes, but if we do have to drive we try to get everything done in one trip,” said Gervase, who works setting tile in Santa Barbara.

He recommended checking tire pressure, maintaining the car and carpooling to save gas.

Local fashion designer Jenny Adams changed her business because of gas prices.

“If I need to find help or buy product for my business, I try to find things locally,” she said. “If I do drive I drive slower, coast more, put the car in neutral at stop signs and plan so I don’t have multiple trips.”

Gervase and local property manager Claire Benson both said a better public transportation system would help people be less reliant on their cars.

“It would definitely be easier with a better public transportation system, especially between here and Ventura,” Benson said.

Santa Barbara motorists can find the least expensive gas at the ARCO at 3618 State St. at $3.83. The next least expensive stations are the Conserv Fuel at 150 S. La Cumbre Road at $3.85, the ARCO at 1116 Casitas Pass Road at $3.86, and the 76 at 4401 Via Real at $3.87. The Shell station at 5097 Hollister Ave. carries the least expensive diesel fuel at $4.13.

The most expensive stations are Mobil at 49 Glen Annie Road and Chevron at 6895 Hollister Ave. at $4.49.

Auto Club of Southern California spokesman Jeffrey Spring said price averages could eclipse $4 next week, setting a record for this time of year.

“Oil industry analysts tell us that refineries are now selling more of their product overseas,” he said, “and this means that supplies are tighter domestically, driving up wholesale prices despite the continued lower demand in the U.S. and the lower price of oil.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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