Soaring gas prices across U.S. eating up incomes

(CNN) Soaring gas prices across the U.S. are eating up incomes, particularly in Nevada, which currently has the second-highest gas prices in the U.S.

When you factor in the average salary that workers are making there, drivers have to work longer than anywhere else in the country to afford a tank of gas.

Elsa Roldan’s gas budget is up $30 a week commuting to her housekeeping job at a Las Vegas hotel. She said, “And I don’t know when it’s gonna stop.”

Surging gas prices and inflation are eating up more of her salary.

“I need to cut so many expenses,” she explained. “It was my birthday and I couldn’t buy a purse. I mean, there’s so many things and it affects me emotionally of course.”

At close to $5.70 a gallon, Nevadans now face the second-steepest gas price in the country, well behind California.

But when you factor in average salary data shows drivers here have to work longer than in any other state, on average more than three hours, to afford a single tank of gas.

Compare that to Massachusetts, the other end of the spectrum, where even though gas is more than $5 a gallon the average driver has to work less than two hours to fill up because salaries are higher.

Shawn Spivak drives for Uber in Vegas. They said, “I’m literally driving two and a half to three hours a day just to pay for the gas. So instead of driving eight, nine hours a day I’m driving 12, 13 hours a day.”

When asked why gas is so expensive in Nevada, AAA spokesperson John Treanor said, “This is really an access story.

Simply put, prices are so high, because it costs a lot of money to get gas to Nevada.”

Almost all of Nevada’s fuel comes from California, where refining oil is more expensive because of stricter environmental regulations and the cost to transport it is surging. Plus, Nevada’s gas tax is sixth highest in the nation.

Chelsea Hansen lives in Reno. She said, “Home to some of Nevada’s most expensive gas. More than 6 bucks a gallon.”

Post-pandemic, she hoped her 3-year-old daughter could finally spend time with family this summer. But now she’s rethinking those road trips because of the cost.

“There’s so much that my daughter has lost out on, and there’s feeling again, as a parent that I’m going to have to be limited in what i can offer,” Chelsea said.

In a survey, two thirds of travelers said rising gas prices would factor into their decision to travel in the next six months. But at this point, U.S. demand for gas keeps rising, up again last week.

With prices expected to keep climbing, many Americans, especially those with lower incomes, will have to work more hours to afford gas. And more drivers nationwide could soon face the same situation.

Some economists have raised concerns about the impact high gas prices could have on tourism in a city like Las Vegas. But the main tourism agency for Las Vegas says there’s no evidence yet that it’s taken a hit as the number of visitors nearly returns to pre-pandemic levels.

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