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The Chicago Traveler

Chicago Gas Prices Highest in the U.S.

by Matt B on May 19th, 2008

The other day, before driving to the grocery store, I pulled into the gas station to fill the car's tank. I read the sign' $4.20 for a gallon of regular gas! Eep! Filling the tank would leave me with no money left for groceries. And I'm certainly not the only one feeling the pinch on the wallet.

chicago gas pricesChicagoans are now paying an average of $4.07 a gallon for self-serve regular gas. Not only is it the first time the average has surpassed $4 a gallon, it's the highest price anywhere in the nation, even more expensive than bigger cities like New York City and Los Angeles.

And remember, that's just an average. As I said, I paid $4.20 a gallon in my neighborhood, and there have even been sightings of prices as high as $4.49 a gallon. Many city residents have started to buy just enough gas to drive to the suburbs, where gas is 30 or 40 cents cheaper per gallon.

According to the Lundberg Survey, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is $3.79. Why does gasoline cost so much more in Chicago? One main reason is the type of gas Chicago sells. By law, the city must use a cleaner burning fuel which costs more to produce. Also, Chicagoans pay nearly a dollar's worth in city, county, state, and federal taxes on every gallon of gas they buy. The worst part is that gas prices will likely continue to rise as the summer goes on.

If you're traveling around Chicago, I recommend using the city's extensive public transportation system to help with travel costs. Full fare (paying by cash) is $2 per ride on buses and trains. Fare cards, transit cards, and 30-day, 7-day, or Visitor Passes offer lower fares and faster boarding. Also, Chicago has plenty of reasonably priced restaurants and budget-friendly attractions.

As for me, I think my car will be staying put for the next few months'

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) JOE M500

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POSTED IN: News, Uncategorized

7 opinions for Chicago Gas Prices Highest in the U.S.

  • Kim
    May 19, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Ouch! My husband paid $4.26. Being a city dweller, walking has become his new method of transportation.

  • Heather
    May 19, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I second that ouch. We’re still a bit under $4 in my area though stations around the Strip are taking advantage of tourists not wanting to venture further than that.

  • CJCM
    May 20, 2008 at 3:57 am

    Ouch… Malaysia government is under pressure to increase the petrol price too. But the govt is holding to it due to pressure from the people as we are a net oil exporter. We are now paying about RM2 per liter (approx USD 65cents…. but this is subsidized by the government). I have converted my car to use natural gas, and I am now paying RM 68cents per liter (approx USD 22cents.. also subsidized).

    You don’t have natural gas option in the US?

  • Matt B
    May 20, 2008 at 9:14 am

    @Kim, I can totally empathize with your husband. I could probably use the exercise anyway!

    @Heather, if my travels to Vegas have taught me anything, it’s that it’s worth the trip away from the Strip for just about everything. Food, souvenirs, gas…

    @CJCM We are able to convert to natural gas or hydrogen, but it can be a very expensive process, depending on the vehicle. Moreso, I don’t think most Americans even know about this option.

  • Liz
    May 29, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    In Connecticut I was going to fill my tank when I saw the price for regular was $4.49 and that is about the cheapest in my city, the price changes every night at midnight.

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