Why a Northern California gas station is charging nearly $10 a gallon

Gas prices at one Northern California gas station are getting very close to $10 a gallon.

A Chevron station in Mendocino was charging $9.63 this week for a gallon of regular gas.

Aldo Vazquez, who works at AAA Northern California, says it costs more to bring gas to this rural area, so that company has to charge more to stay in business.

"When you factor in transportation costs, the proximity to pipelines, those can also add up to the price of gasoline," Vaszquez said on Monday. "That’s why we always recommend doing your research because if you can find a different route, you may end up in an area with cheaper prices."

It's still expensive to buy gas elsewhere in the country, but way less expensive than California, which has the highest average in the nation hovering around $6.40 a gallon, according to AAA.  The national average is about $5 a gallon and the lowest average is in Georgia, at $4.41 a gallon.

Quentin McZeal of Oakland, California, said it used to cost him $100 to fill up his tank and now it’s more like $140-$160. The prices have forced him to change his behavior and make different choices, like turning down people who ask for rides unless they’re willing to kick in for gas.

"It’s a lot of other things I can’t do because I have to pay for gas, you know what I’m saying?" McZeal said. "Less food, less playtime because I got to get gas. I got to go to work, right?"

Pump prices have been rising steadily for months, as has the cost of crude oil, which was rising even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove oil even higher.

Americans aren’t the only ones paying more to fill up. Last week, gasoline prices in the United Kingdom hit a record 182.3 pence ($2.30) per liter, or about $8.80 per gallon.

Analysts expect prices will keep rising until they get so high that demand falls — nobody knows exactly when or where that might be. In the meantime, any unexpected refinery shutdowns — for example, from a hurricane along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast — could send prices spiraling higher.

"I’m afraid we’re not at the end of the road yet," said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan. "We have very little margin for error this summer. We need every barrel of refining capacity we can get."

Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.