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Pain at the pump persists, forcing drivers to make changes

Updated May 20, 2022 - 9:22 am

Las Vegas residents and visitors alike continue to feel the pain at the pump, as gasoline prices stick stubbornly above $5 per gallon.

Prices in Southern Nevada have been soaring since early March, with average gasoline prices Thursday reaching $5.20 per gallon, according to AAA Nevada.

AAA reported that the national average for pump prices has raised 10 cents since May 16, and it all boils down to supply and demand.

“This supply/demand dynamic, combined with volatile crude prices, will likely continue to keep upward pressure on pump prices,” said the report from AAA.

For many, the frustration at the pump is compounded by rising prices of groceries and other goods.

“It’s creating problems in every aspect of our life,” said Sandy Moore, who was visiting Las Vegas from Virginia. “Food is very expensive, because it costs more money to haul into the restaurant. What you find in stores are more expensive, too.”

Moore was filling up his tank at a Sinclair service station, where regular gasoline costs $5.34 per gallon. In Virginia, the average gasoline prices are at $4.45, according to AAA.

“I’m just very disgusted with what’s going on in our country today,” he said. “It is disgusting and we need to change.”

Californian Nicole Covian, however, was somewhat relieved to see the Las Vegas prices as she filled up at a Chevron on Blue Diamond Road for $5.36 per gallon.

That’s because prices in Las Vegas are relatively low compared with the Golden States’ gasoline prices, the highest in the country at an average $6.06 per gallon.

Still, Covian said, the ride to Las Vegas was stressful as she sought to plan the most cost-effective stops for gasoline.

“I have to ask myself: ‘How many miles is it?’ ‘Do I have enough money to pay for it?’ ” she said. “It just kind of puts me on edge now. It’s something I didn’t have to worry about before, but now it’s something that stays in the back of my mind.”

She said people have become more strategic, searching around to find the best options for cheaper gasoline. “Before, we didn’t have to care. Like we would just go to the one around the corner,” Covian said.

Other California residents noted how much they have seen gasoline prices rise.

“I’ve seen it as high as $6.70, $6.75 in California,” Allan Azzarello of San Jose said as he pumped diesel fuel at a Shell station on Blue Diamond Road.

Prices in Southern Nevada are making a dent in wallets, including those of Paola Seminario and Jamie Dogood, both Las Vegas residents.

Seminario said she spends $100 to $200 per week on gasoline — even so, she laments that “a tank of gas doesn’t last.”

Dogood said she strives to find ways to economize on gasoline. A tank of gasoline for her car runs about $45.

“Yeah, I’ve been driving less, trying to do everything in one trip. It’s been pretty tough,” said Dogood, who was filling up her tank at $5.34 per gallon at a Chevron station on Blue Diamond Road.

A clerk at an AM/PM convenience store on Windmill Lane said customers often express their frustrations over the high prices.

“In the beginning everyone was complaining,” said the clerk, who asked to remain anonymous. “They were kind of thrown off, like, they would give you $60 and expect to come back and get $15 (in change), but they would get nothing.”

People have had to adjust to the prices, but it comes at the expense of other activities, he said.

“I feel like, you know, people are having to put off other types of fun activities, so they can put more money in their gas tank to get around and stuff.”

For Steve Carillo, it comes down to making the most of his tank of gasoline.

“I don’t go out unless I absolutely have to,” the Las Vegas resident said. “And if I do, I make sure to accomplish a lot.”

Contact Emerson Drewes at edrewes@reviewjournal.com or via Twitter @EmersonDrewes.

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