(G. Arizon/SFVS) Motorist fuels up his truck at the Mobil gas station in Mission Hills.

Gas prices have hit historic highs in California, and motorists are increasingly feeling the pain at the pumps.

Arleta resident Marta Vasquez has been struggling so much  that she has had to cut back on food to save for gas.

“Now [my family] has more stress,” said Vasquez, who was filling up her car at a Chevron station in Pacoima. “Now I’m looking for a job because we’re not going to make it. Everything is really expensive.”

Vasquez and her husband have been hit hard. While she doesn’t need to drive far, her husband works in Simi Valley and it costs around $50 to fill up their tank. It was previously $20, but Vasquez said that amount of money barely moves the gas gauge now.

She said they now can’t go anywhere with gas being so expensive.

“We have to buy less food,” Vasquez said.” The family is looking to apply for an EBT card.

It has gotten so bad for them, Vazquez said, that her husband put forth the idea of moving to Mexico.

“How are we going to survive when all these things are happening?” she asked.

San Fernando resident Aaron Flores was fueling up at an Arco station in Pacoima, when he told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol that he and his family of five also have to be conscientious of how much money they spend, not just on gas but also on food.

Flores said he used to work close to his home in San Fernando  and walked everywhere, but since getting a new job in Northridge, he has spent $150 per month on gas alone. His family helps pay for his gas.

As inflation is raising the prices on food as well, Flores and his family have learned to only purchase the essentials.

“We are buying only what we need,” Flores said. “We don’t buy in bulk.”

A Sylmar resident  who identified himself as Steven said he, too, is taking a hit at the pumps, though not as severe  as others.

He said he spends $80-$90 on a full tank of gas; it used to be around $60. He said the increase in gas prices hasn’t negatively impacted him that much since he lives by himself and doesn’t spend a lot of money; however, he did lament how much it is costing “in order to get from point A to B.”

“What can you do, you know,” he said with a shrug.

California has the highest gas prices of any state in the USA. For example, a station located in Furnace Creek, CA, near Death Valley National Park, listed prices of $8.75 a gallon for regular, $9.23 for premium and $9.99 for diesel fuel.

There was a sliver of relief this week for LA County motorists. As of Wednesday, March 30, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Los Angeles County had fallen 1.2 cents to $6.057, after dropping by one-tenth of a cent two of the previous three days. The dip followed 32 consecutive days of price increases, totaling $1.283.

Even with that decline, the average price of regular gas was 3.6 cents more than one week ago, $1.171 more than one month ago and $2.113 greater than one year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

When San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol also asked its Facebook readers about the impact the gas prices have had on their lives, they were quick to reply.

“It’s so ridiculous how we have oil refineries in California, yet we’re paying more for gas than Hawaii [which] is an isolated island and has to import gas,” Daniel Lopez said. “It just shows how corrupted our government is.”

Nelson Flores, who lives in North Hills, said he is driving a Prius now to try and cope with the soaring fuel costs. “I had a 6-cylinder BMW right before COVID; $80 every 3 days,” he said. “[It’s now costing] just $60 for every 2 weeks. I’m still ok with it, lol, but …”

Amanda Sanchez of North Hollywood said her family “hardly drives anywhere” because of gas prices.

“To work and back,” Sanchez said. “There is a grocery store [within] walking distance. When we do big shopping we drive, but to get a few things only; we don’t waste gas. We’ve made it work ok. 

“I know many can’t do this though. They might commute far to work or have to drive to run every errand.”

Carmen Romero wrote that she was currently using LADOT transportation to go to work. “I saved $350 in one month. Thank goodness for other options!”

Even though there has been talk in the state Legislature to provide rebates for beleaguered motorists, there are no signs there will a major drop in prices any time soon. 

That’s why Sylmar resident Elena Robertson, while getting gas at a Shell station in Mission Hills, said she must cut back on how much she spends shopping at stores.

Robertson said she spends $55-60 every time she goes to the pump when she used to spend $35. The increase in gas prices has resulted in her making fewer trips for groceries for her family of three.

“If I forget something at Target or Walmart, I can’t go back,” Robertson said. “I just stay home.”