San Diego motorists are paying $2.10 per gallon, 17 percent more at the gas pump than the record-setting price of $1.80 recorded for the same time period in 2004, according to the Utility Consumers’ Action Network.
In a news conference Feb. 2, Michael Shames, the executive director of the San Diego-based consumer watchdog group, was accompanied not by Groundhog Day’s Punxsutawney Phil, but “Big Oil Hog” , an 8-foot pink pig.
– & #8201;For each week this gas-price trend continues, San Diego families will lose $33 in discretionary income every week because of the higher gas prices.
– Gas price hikes since 2003 have had a greater impact on the average San Diego household than the worst of the 2000 electricity crisis , all this, while Big Oil is cleaning up with big profits.
UCAN also made this dire prediction: “The state’s deteriorating gasoline infrastructure, combined with the failure of the Legislature to act in 2004, leads UCAN to believe that gasoline prices in California could be 30 percent to 50 percent higher than last year’s record $2.54 per gallon.”
Anita Mangels, spokeswoman for the Western States Petroleum Association, called UCAN’s claims “ingenuous.”
“They are talking about gas prices in San Diego, when they are almost 40 cents a gallon lower than they were back in October,” she said.
Mangels didn’t discredit UCAN’s figures, just their context.
“The market economy and market conditions determine the price of homes, gas and medical care that consumers use every day,” she said. “Consumers should be more interested in knowing that they are paying 38.8 cents less than they were three months ago, than looking back a year ago. Market conditions can cut either way.”
, Pat Broderick