Filling Your Gas Tank Could Cost a Day’s Pay If You’re This Kind of San Francisco Person

Gas prices in the San Francisco Bay Area have risen rapidly over the last several weeks, reaching insane levels that are straining many people’s wallets.

Case in point? For certain San Francisco residents, filling up their gas tank could cost more than a day’s pay.

Doing the Math

Where I live in Lafayette, California, gas prices have risen to $6.29 per gallon.

But those aren’t even the highest prices in the area. In San Francisco proper, prices have spiked to $6.85 per gallon.

Let’s do the math on those prices.

The minimum wage in California is $15.50, at least out here in the East Bay. If you work an 8-hour day at those rates, you’ll take home $124–and that’s before taxes.

Let’s say you drive America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150. The F-150 has a gas tank that holds 23 gallons.

At $6.29 per gallon, filling up your tank would cost you $144.67

That’s more than a day’s pay to fill up your tank.

For California’s lowest earners, the rising price of gas presents major burdens.

How to Make the Pump Pain Stop

Of course, many Californians have options. Public transit, like BART, can often replace a car commute.

Vehicles that are more fuel-efficient reduce the cost of filling your tank. An old Toyota Camry beats a new F-150 any day.

You can also opt to go electric. California has many EV incentives for lower-income people (and tax breaks for high earners, too.) Even with California’s high electric prices, I pay the equivalent of about $3.50 per gallon to charge my plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica.

Hopefully, gas prices will recede. If not, maybe start looking into EVs and home charging stations. 

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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