SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — When gas prices in California soar, drivers on a budget are forced to cut back on extra expenses.
Drivers at a gas station on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara said the shock of the stickers interrupted some non-essential things they were enjoying.
Some people spend more on gas cancel restaurant reservations.
“Chucks is my favorite place and I can’t bring my wife to Chuck’s as much as I would like because it’s too expensive,” Will Frederick said.
Others are canceling salon appointments, car washes and weekend getaways.
Kayle Reed said that even though she was driving a hybrid, she felt the pinch.
“I would love to get out of town, like up to San Francisco or LA, but the traffic and the prices are crazy,” Reed said.
Drivers said something had to give when regular, plus, and supreme cost between $6 and $7 a gallon. That’s at least a few dollars more than the rest of the country.
David Pena was putting air in his tires before taking his daughter to sports training when he said he wouldn’t go to State Street as much.
“Of course reduce the outings of each weekend, it used to be an every weekend thing, now we have to prioritize our money.”
Even though Charlie Kennedy travels by bicycle on his vacation from the UK, he said fuel prices are weighing on his spending.
He plans to camp at Carpinteria tonight and sightsee on a shoestring budget.
“I think in general it’s had a huge impact on other things, the food is more expensive, for me the fuel for my cooker is more as well, that definitely means I’ve had to control a bit my spending and being a bit more conservative as a tourist,” Kennedy said.
Many California business owners say they see less foot traffic.
Santos Guzman, owner of Taqueria El Bahio on Milpas Street, said his restaurant, which survived the pandemic, is now dealing with soaring gasoline prices.
Guzman said he’s seeing his regular customers less, but won’t cut workers who have rent and other bills to pay.
He said business fell about “25%. That’s a lot to keep employees, gas is high.”
John Saliba, who works across the street at Crown Liquor, said customers were buying less and blaming petrol prices.
“They come here and complain about only putting in $10 and I guess I don’t have enough money for that.”
A gas station attendant who did not want to be named said people arrived with cash and found they did not have enough money to fill up and buy snacks, they had to so put the items back.
The state’s lowest-income workers may get some relief when the refund checks arrive.
Some will be released next week.
We’ll find out more about what happens to extra spending tonight at eleven o’clock.