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- A photo that shows a gas station sign listing unleaded gas as costing $7.89 a gallon is real, but the price isn’t — the store hasn’t opened yet. When it does, it will reflect the cost of gas in Albuquerque, now less than $3.
An image of a sign advertising gas prices alongside a row of pumps on a clear, sunny day shows a startling figure: $7.89 a gallon for unleaded gas.
Text over the image identifies the Maverik gas station’s location as Albuquerque, N.M., on March 19.
"Awful," one of many people sharing the image on social media wrote before blaming President Joe Biden. "Thanks Sleepy Jo."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Gas prices have mostly been going up nationwide since they bottomed out at around $1.87 in late April 2020, as the economic recovery fuels more demand. The average retail price for all grades was $2.95 a gallon for the week ended March 22, according to federal data, up from about $2.47 when Biden took office.
But $7.89 for regular grade would be way out of range.
We searched online for "Maverik gas Albuquerque" and started to call each of the nine locations listed to get an explanation.
Tiffany Garcia, a cashier at the first store, told us that she had already talked to a customer that day asking whether the gas was $7.89. That’s wrong, she said. The price of unleaded gas at the station was $2.78 a gallon March 19, and it was still that price when PolitiFact called on March 22.
John Silva, a maintenance worker at the second store listed on Google Maps, told us the price of regular unleaded gas there was $2.77. He didn’t know anything about prices surging to $7.89, he said.
Our next call solved the mystery. Joanna Archuleta, a cashier at the third Maverik store, knew exactly what we were talking about. The picture is real, she said, but the sign is at a Maverik store that hasn’t opened yet.
When it does open and customers are able to buy gas there, it will reflect the correct price. At her store, that’s $2.78 a gallon for regular unleaded.
This tracks with what we found on a website listing gas prices in Albuquerque shared on the website of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Energy Department.
On March 22, regular unleaded gas in the city cost as little as $2.30 and as much as $2.89, according to Albuquerque Gas Prices. Diesel was a little more expensive: as much as $3.19.
But we saw nothing close to the prices that appear in the image.
The image is being used to claim that Biden has caused gas prices to surge to nearly $8 a gallon in New Mexico. That hasn’t happened.
We rate this Facebook post False.
Facebook post, March 20, 2021
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Gas prices for cities in New Mexico, visited March 22, 2021
Albuquerque Gas Prices, visited March 22, 2021
Interview with Tiffany Garcia, cashier, Maverik, March 22, 2021
Interview with John Silva, maintenance worker, Maverik, March 22, 2021
Interview with Joanna Archuleta, adventure guide, March 22, 2021
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