Gas prices in Southern California continue to climb and now Los Angeles County inspectors are checking to make sure that customers are actually receiving what they’re paying for at the pump.
Gas prices jumped 12 cents overnight and the average price in L.A. County as of Thursday is $6.28. This is the 22nd time in 24 days that the average price for a gallon of gas has risen. Compared to the national average of $3.83 for a gallon of gas, California is paving the way for some of the highest rates to date.
Many residents are discouraged and frustrated by the fluctuating gas prices.
“Because of the gas prices, I’m actually not going to do my next two stops and I’d rather do calls,” said Long Beach resident Emma Haines.
Haines works in sales and drives all over L.A. County. She said she fills up her tank every day with $20, hoping that the high prices will eventually drop. On Thursday, she decided to shorten her route due to the high gas prices.
Another Long Beach resident Jeffrey Hardin, said due to the rising prices, he’s adding anywhere from $18-$20 onto his gas bill.
“I know that we pay more here in L.A. because we’re forced to drive and it’s kind of unfair but you really can’t do anything about it,” he said.
Takla Mankarious is an inspector with the L.A. County Weights and Measures Bureau and his department tests 1,000 to 2,000 fuel dispensers every month to make sure that drivers are getting the exact amount of fuel that’s stated on the signage and aren’t being shorted out of money, even if the existing prices remain high.
“We want to make sure that people are getting the exact volume for which they’re paying,” said Ken Pellman who also works in the Bureau of Weights and Measures. “If you’re paying for 10 gallons, you should be getting exactly 10 gallons.”
If inspectors find that a gas station is short-changing a customer or if there is faulty equipment, the gas station will be cited. Although short volume violations occur in only 1/2 of 1% of meter tests, that number amounts to about 300 complaints a month in L.A. County alone.
On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom directed the California Energy Commission to implement gas price gouging penalties and restrictions on refinery maintenance activities.
“What we’re trying to understand is this delta between the national average and what you’re paying at the pump here on average in the state,” Newsom said.
Newsom also directed the Energy Commission to transition to the winter blend fuel about a month earlier this year to curb the high prices.