SAN JOSE, CA. – Gas prices in California are the highest in the country, and in the Bay Area, residents are choosing other means of transportation to save money. Some are totally overpriced for driving.
Statewide gasoline prices rose six cents last week according to AAA. The average price in Los Angeles has topped the $6 mark, and in the Bay Area you’ll pay the highest prices in San Francisco, where gs averages $5.97 per gallon.
It’s about ten cents a gallon cheaper in Oakland and San Jose.
On Monday, Peter Cushman in San Jose opted for his bike over his vehicle, even on a rainy day. He does this regularly to reduce fuel costs.
“It’s easier to say let’s ride the bike again instead of jumping in my car,” Cushman said. “It will make money.”
Others are selling their vehicles and heading to Good Karma Bikes in San Jose for a cheaper transportation alternative.
“I normally have a selection of low-end bikes, and I just can’t keep them in stock this month,” said Lisa DeGolier, operations manager at Good Karma Bikes.
Good Karma Bikes is a non-profit organization that collects donated bikes and repairs, refurbishes and sells or donates them to those in need. The store has served South Bay for 13 years, providing free repairs and parts to people with low or no income. Over the past month, CEO Jim Gardner said middle-income customers have arrived, deciding to swap their accelerator pedals for bicycle pedals.
“Things are really moving for us,” Gardner said.
Bike sales kicked into high gear at the start of the pandemic as people turned to two-wheelers for recreational riding. Now, while sales generally continued, they are increasing again. This time for commuter bikes, to help people reduce their weekly fill-ups at the pump.
“We had a banner week last week,” Gardner said.
These days, a $300 bike pays for itself in gas savings.
“If you drive a gas-guzzling car, $300 is close to your weekly gas bill. So if you can replace just a few of your commuting days with bicycling, you can make that tank of gas a lot easier. essence stretches even more.” said De Golier.
Throughout March, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority also saw an increase in ridership, up 60% on buses and light rail, according to VTA media spokeswoman Sandra Bermudez.
Today, the average weekday ridership is nearly 60,000 commuters per day, well below the 108,000 daily riders before the pandemic, but increasing.
Gas prices may have something to do with it.
“I think gas prices are pushing people to look for an alternative,” DeGolier said.