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‘It’s just shocking.’ Las Vegas residents stunned by soaring gas prices

Updated March 7, 2022 - 5:04 pm

Las Vegans filling their fuel tanks up Monday say they are shocked to see record gas prices reminiscent of the late 2000s.

Drivers in the valley are paying on average 60 cents more than last week, when gasoline prices climbed overnight and hit new records several days in a row. As of Monday morning, the average cost of regular unleaded gasoline in Las Vegas was $4.60 per gallon, setting a new record, according to AAA.

It surprised Las Vegas resident Dawn Slezak, who was pumping gas at a Sinclair station in Summerlin. She heard prices were higher and could be almost double the typical price. Slezak said she normally pays about $40 to fill her personal vehicle once every two weeks. Monday’s fuel-up was about $60.

“It’s just shocking,” she said Monday. “I can’t believe how much it costs now. I think you (now) try to group everything or try to go to one side of town, at least, all in the same shot.”

Despite the sticker shock, some drivers say changing driving habits isn’t an option. Las Vegas resident Keaton Johns said he commutes four days a week from northwest Las Vegas to the Strip for his job.

“I can’t really change or deter it,” Johns said, while getting gas at a Shell station near Durango Drive and Elkhorn Road. “You just gotta grin and bear it.”

The national average was listed at $4.06 per gallon Monday by AAA, 5 cents off the all-time high. Experts say the spike seen across the country is mainly tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Still, it comes comes at a time when inflation and renewed consumer demand already were contributing to higher prices in goods and services. Las Vegas resident Jon Reed said he was concerned about how fuel will make things like ride-sharing and food delivery more expensive, too.

“I live next to groceries. If I drive anywhere it’s my favorite Indian place on Fort Apache,” Reed said of how his driving habits might change. “That’s the farthest drive I make.”

At the Costco Business Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Las Vegas, the wholesale-priced gas caused staff to redirect the line of cars around the warehouse instead of its usual roadway. Gas there was $4.04 per unleaded gallon on Monday morning.

Ina Carpenter, of Las Vegas, said she drove from the east side of the valley to get gas at the wholesaler, where she usually refuels. She said she was shocked by the wait for more affordable gas, but thought it was right trade off for her compact SUV.

“Now it’ll definitely be at Costco because I’m not paying $5 to pump gas,” Carpenter said. “That’s crazy. Thirty or 10 cents (discounted) is not so much, but almost a buck is a big difference. Who doesn’t want to save four quarters?”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff photographer Kevin Cannon contributed to this report.

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