Expense of fuel pumped in Tahoe: Gas stations continue to claim innocence | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Expense of fuel pumped in Tahoe: Gas stations continue to claim innocence

Amanda Fehd

High gas prices are back, and this time they don’t look like they’ll be going away soon.

The California statewide average for gasoline Thursday was $2.51, compared to a Nevada average of $2.42, according to AAA, which tracks gas prices as a service to members.

But prices in South Lake Tahoe hovered around $2.79 for unleaded this week.

California gas is more expensive than Nevada’s because it must meet higher environmental standards, said Sean Comey, spokesman for AAA.

“It costs more to make and it protects your air quality,” Comey said.

South Lake Tahoe often has the highest priced gas in the country, according to AAA surveys, leading residents to wonder if they are getting gouged because we live in a tourist town.

John Cefalu and his family own the Fox Service Station near Safeway. He said they raise their rates when the gas companies raise prices on them.

“We try to explain we are not doing it to to gouge anyone, we are doing it because the price of gas went up,” he said. “It’s a competitive business and the margins that you gain change daily.”

Gas prices hovered around $70 a barrell Thursday.

Still, Cefalu has noticed some stations in town raise prices over weekends, even though there’s been no change in prices from distributors.

But most of the higher cost lies in the reality that Californians pay 7.75 cents sales tax, on top of California’s higher fuel taxes and South Shore’s higher delivery costs, Cefalu said.

A pipeline delivers Nevada’s cheaper fuel from Sacramento to Reno, significantly reducing delivery costs.

Tahoe requires an MTBE-free blend, which must be delivered by freight from Bay Area refineries, and that drives the price up even more, Cefalu said.

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