My $4 cherry is officially busted

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Yes we all knew it was coming but damn if it didn’t make me a little sick to my stomach to see this today.

This one’s the intersection of Fletcher and Riverside, but I saw two other stations also over $4 for premium today.

This, is BULLSHIT, Man.

31 Replies to “My $4 cherry is officially busted”

  1. Ha, well, it’s something of a sucker tax, then isn’t it?

    This could just be my lack of car knowledge talking here, but what’s the benefit of buying superduper gas over regular gas?

  2. The difference varies from car to car, some makers recommend premium. Most cars will run fine on 89 octane but cars that need more compression (because they generate more power) will benefit from premium in the long term. Check the manual to be sure what’s best for you.

  3. Incidentally the Chevron near Fairfax and Washington was well over $4 for 91 octane today but the Arco a few blocks away at La Cieniga and Rodeo (by Target) was only $3.80. Can’t believe I said only $3.80. I still remember my father driving miles out of the way to fill the tank at the last station that charged less than a dollar.

  4. @ruth – premium doesn’t count, you’re not paying more for gas, you’re paying more for refining/processing.

    however

    @doorframe – it’s not a sucker tax, and you lack car knowledge. some cars need premium gas because it resists detonation under pressure. you put low octane gas in a high performance, high compression engine, the gas will detonate before the spark fires, out of sequence – this is known as engine ping. so high octane gas resists pinging.

    if you have a low compression engine, and you buy high octane gas, then you are paying a sucker tax. it does nothing for you. but if you have a high compression engine, you don’t have much choice. if you buy lower octane gas, you risk damaging, possibly seriously, your engine.

  5. Even if premium doesn’t count (which is bizarre logic), I have a photo I’ve been meaning to post taken at the gas station on Alameda/Caesar Chavez a few days ago that shows ALL of the grades at $4 plus.

    @cephyn – I think the point is you’re a sucker for buying a vehicle with a high compression engine to begin with. ;)

  6. Oooh, on a related note, I heard a radio story the other day saying that despite the fact that it seems like this has been going on forever, we had 99¢/gallon gas in Los Angeles as recently as 2001. Ninety. Nine. Cents.

  7. @spencer- “I think the point is you’re a sucker for buying a vehicle with a high compression engine to begin with. ”

    Um…exactly why premium doesn’t count….

  8. Some cars definitely benefit from premium. I used to drive an air cooled ’81 Vanagon, and the mileage and performance difference between premium and non-premium gas was astounding. Got about 18-20 MPG on premium, which is not bad for a brick-shaped tank of a van. Lots of older cars drive better on premium, as they were designed to operate on a higher octane gas than regular is today.

  9. cephyn is absolutely correct.

    With newer cars (i.e. VW GTIs with the 1.8 turbo) however, they have a “knock sensor” that detects the pinging and adjusts the turbo, fuel and ignition settings to compensate. You don’t get the performance you’d get using the higher octane, but you save money if you use the mid-octane.

    At least you have a choice, with a lower performance engine you don’t.

    The only good thing I can think of about the $4+/gallon for gas is that we may now see the cool diesel cars that are sold all over the EU. And fewer SUVs (how can that be bad? :)

  10. Alameda last Friday…I paid $3.87 today to fill up my MINI. $40.56. That’s a killer. When we bought the MINI it cost $18 – $22 to fill it up. I remember the first time it went up to $27 and I thought I had died. $40.56…that’s SUV prices right there.

  11. Fuel prices have a tendency to go through the roof during times of economic crisis. Why? Because belt-tightening on the individual and familial level includes reducing fuel costs both at the pump and in home heating and cooking fuel: turn the heater down to 65, take fewer vacations (causing a reduction in aviation fuel useage).

    Everyone feels the pain of an economic crunch, even the mean old oil companies.

  12. Shouldn’t lower gas usage lead to increased competition between the gas companies and gas stations and ultimately lead to markedly lower prices? You’re describing a situation that runs counter to basic-level supply and demand theory.

  13. Casual observations suggest that it follows a standard supply demand curve.

    As the supply of gas becomes more unreliable (Middle East in turmoil) and the demand for oil grows greater every year (industrialization in China, the rest of Asia and India), we’re going to see prices go up. As supply goes down and prices go up, we’re going to see higher prices and higher profits for oil companies (they can charge more today than they could yesterday for the same gas, yet it didn’t cost them all that much more to get it out of the ground). It all seems perfectly rational to me.

  14. I’m gonna photograph the price signage of every station I pass on my 14-mile bike ride home from work tonight. I last bought gas on March 6 because of my two-wheeled affliction — I mean addiction.

  15. Actually, Will, I think it would be interesting for everyone to start taking pictures of their local gas station’s prices. Seriously. It could be like a blog countdown or something. ‘Cause I live in Agoura Hills and regular grade is hovering awfully close to $3.90…

  16. A question for all you drivers- How high do gass prices need to go before you start thinkg about using the buss/train, bike, walk, razer scooter and the like?

  17. At this point, I think the discussion about gas prices is about a lot more complex issues than just drivers vs. alternative transportation users. Plus, until our economy as a whole makes much larger strides in the development of alternative fuels, the price of gas will always be germane to the huge number of people that live in smaller, rural communities that don’t have the “bus/train, bike, walk, razer scooter” options that those of us that live in cities.

  18. I just got back from Spring Break on the central coast. 3.999/gal in SLO this morning. My first ever 48 fill for less than 3/4 tank. Also the first time EVER I kept my speed down as there is a difference between 24 and 20mpg at that price.

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