Declining gas prices raise questions

Carl E. Littleberry Jr., Reporter

All over California, people have enjoyed surprisingly low gas prices since the start of 2016. Even in Bakersfield, the average cost of a tank of gas has lowered from $2.93 to $2.23 a gallon.

With some stations even dropping to below $2 a gallon, many Californians haven’t found much to complain about lately, gas-wise.

But the question on many local people’s minds, including Bakersfield College student Aaron Richards, 27, is “Where the hell did these low prices come from?”

The puppeteers pulling the strings behind these mysterious drops in many gas chains’ prices across California would be the California Tax Board.

In 2010, California drivers were overtaxed for gas to help shoulder the state’s budget deficits accumulated in the five years prior.

On Feb. 23 the board voted to lower the tax by 2.2 cents per gallon by a vote of 3-2.

Although these prices only apply to the fiscal year ending in July of 2017, it is still deemed a step forward by local Fastrip worker Riley Dawkins, 24.

“Because of these low gas prices I’m getting way more hours than normal,” said Dawkins, “probably because more and more people are stopping for gas more regularly considering how low it is.”

After polling California campuses, reported California students could save on average of $540 dollars a year.

According to many BC students, these lowered gas prices have helped them save extra money for other necessities like food and school supplies. After hearing the news, BC student and mother of one Jasmine Nunez was more than excited about the thought of saving over $500 a year.

“I could really use that extra money on so many things. You really have no idea. That’s thousands of diapers and basically two months of groceries,” said Nunez. “Plus, gas kills me everyday. Do you know how much gas it takes to get here from Lebec three times a week?”

Although these gas prices might be good for some, they are not good for all. Consider that Chevron laid off 300 local oil industry workers. That is a direct result of the lowered gas prices in the area.

Ray Henrickson, 38, a Bakersfield native who had worked in the oil business for the last 13 years, was laid off in late October of 2015.

“We didn’t even get too much of a warning,” said Henrickson. “Just a thank you for one-third of your life, but now you need to go. To be honest it was like a real slap in the face.”

Even though there seem to be mixed reviews on the gas prices, Henrickson says he appreciates what the government is trying to do.

“I mean, when you’re in the industry you know how it works. And I’m not going to complain about only needing to use $40 bucks on my Raptor now,” said Henrickson.

For BC students looking for the lowest gas prices, the Fastrip on Mt. Vernon has the lowest in town at $1.79 a gallon. For those students looking for low gas prices around town, all gas prices can be found on

Experts predict gas prices will rise more than 20 cents per gallon in the first few weeks of March, but they will still be lower