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- The average gas price in California was more than $5 a gallon after the first week of March, but we didn’t find any evidence of gas selling for as much as $9 a gallon.
- Gas stations will often advertise high gas prices on their signs if they’re closed or out of gas to discourage drivers from stopping.
California gas prices recently hit a record high, and some social media users are sharing photos of gas station signs to express their disbelief and disgust. But one image that’s been viewed widely on Facebook appears to show gas prices reaching about $9 a gallon.
In the image, it looks like unleaded gas is about $9, unleaded plus is about $9.01, unleaded premium is about $9.02 and diesel is about $9.03 for customers paying with cash. Using a debit or credit card, those prices jump to about $9.06, $9.07, $9.08 and $9.09, respectively.
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.)
We identified the gas station where the picture was taken by a number that appears on the Dutch Bros coffee stand in the background: 1130.
There’s a Dutch Bros at 1130 E March Lane in Stockton, California, and an ARCO gas station is next door. Using the street view feature of Google Maps, we were able to identify other similarities between that location and the picture in the Facebook post, such as the placement of palm trees around the store, a sign affixed to one of the trees, and the proximity of the gas station sign to a lamp post.
We tried multiple numbers we found listed for the ARCO station but none worked, and we were unsuccessful in trying to reach someone at ARCO Southwest, which includes Stockton.
So we called other ARCOs in the city, and didn’t find any prices close to $9.
At the ARCO on Trinity Parkway, about 9 miles from the location on March Lane, unleaded cost $4.95 if paying with cash and $5.05 with a card, an employee there said.
At the Golden State Highway location, about 10 miles from the March Lane station, an employee gasped realizing that gas there cost $5.15 a gallon.
According to AAA, the national average of gas prices on March 7 was $4.065. In California, it was higher: $5.343. That’s a new record for the highest recorded average price in California, according to AAA. Average diesel prices also hit a new record on March 7 with costs averaging $5.692 a gallon.
In the Stockton-Lodi region, according to AAA, the average for regular gas is $5.24, and $5.75 for diesel. GasBuddy reflects similar prices in Stockton.
We found plenty of articles about soaring gas prices in California but no reports of prices soaring as high as $9 a gallon. The Los Angeles Times reported on March 6 that the average California gas prices are now over $5 a gallon, noting that "a few stations" in Los Angeles County have surpassed $6 a gallon.
We’ve previously reported on photos of gas station signs that appear to be selling gas for nearly $10. But the stations weren’t actually selling gas for that much. It’s common for stations to advertise fake, high prices on their signs when they’re either closed or out of gas to discourage drivers from stopping.
We rate the March 4 claim that gas was being sold for $9 in California False.
Facebook post, March 4, 2022
Los Angeles Times, Average California gas prices now over $5 a gallon, March 6, 2022
PolitiFact, No, gas doesn’t cost $7.89 in Albuquerque, March 23, 2021
PolitiFact, Why some gas stations are advertising $9.99 unleaded, May 13, 2021
PolitiFact, Photos of high gas prices are at a California station that’s not yet open, Nov. 18, 2021
AAA California gas prices, visited March 7, 2022
GasBuddy, Stockton, CA gas prices, visited March 7, 2022
CNN, California gas prices just hit a record high. $5 gas could come soon, Feb. 16, 2022
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly retail gasoline and diesel prices in California, last updated Feb. 28, 2022
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