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Gas Prices Crimping San Diego Economy

A gas pump at a San Diego gas station appears in this undated photo.

Above: A gas pump at a San Diego gas station appears in this undated photo.

Gas prices are surging in Southern California.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas is up to $3.74 in the San Diego area. That is almost 80 cents a gallon higher than the national average.

GasBuddy.com fuel analyst Dan McTeague said prices have been climbing steadily since the middle of March and that increase is starting to impact driving decisions.

"Twenty-four percent or virtually a quarter are indicating that prices are probably going to be limiting their fuel this year. And that they're likely to probably enjoy a stay-cation," McTeague said.

But how much gas people buy isn't always a choice consumers can make.

"A lot of the driving done is not discretionary. It's the kind of stuff you have to do to get from point A to point B and so for many people, it's a question of moving the cost on or finding other ways to provide savings to compensate for the increase," McTeague said.

Higher oil prices, a jump in the state's gas tax, and the switch to less polluting summer fuels is driving the increase.

McTeague expects prices to continue to go up in coming weeks, but he is not sure if the average will pierce the $4 a gallon barrier.

San Diego's record average price is $4.72 set in 2012.

San Diego's average gasoline price is edging closer to the $4 a gallon mark and that is starting to put a squeeze on driving in Southern California.

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