Amid rising gas prices, South Bay residents sell vehicles, opt for alternative transportation

California gas prices are the highest in the nation, and in the Bay Area, residents are choosing alternative methods of transportation to save money. Some are priced out of driving altogether.

Statewide, gas prices rose six cents in the past week according to AAA. The average price in Los Angeles pushed past the $6 dollar mark, and in the Bay Area, you'll pay the highest prices in San Francisco, where gs is averaging $5.97 a gallon.

It's about ten cents cheaper per gallon in Oakland and San Jose.

On Monday, Peter Cushman in San Jose opted for his bicycle over his vehicle, even on a rainy day. He does this regularly to cut down on fuel costs.

"It's easier to say let's still bike instead of hop in my car," Cushman said. "It's going to some money."

Others are selling their vehicles, and heading to Good Karma Bikes in San Jose for a cheaper transportation alternative.

"I normally have a selection of low-end bikes, and I just can't keep them in stock this month," Lisa DeGolier, operations manager at Good Karma Bikes, said.

Good Karma Bikes is a nonprofit organization that takes donated bikes and repairs, refurbishes, and either sells or gives them away to people in need. The shop has been serving the South Bay for 13 years, providing free repairs and parts to people with little to no income. In the last month, CEO Jim Gardner says middle-income customers have turned up, deciding to swap their gas pedals for bike pedals.

"Things are really hopping for us," Gardner said.

Bike sales shifted into high gear at the onset of the pandemic, as people turned to two-wheelers for recreational riding. Now, when sales would typically be coasting along, they're surging again. This time, for commuter bikes, to help folks cut down on their weekly fill-ups at the pump.

"We had a record week last week," Gardner said.

These days, a $300 bike pays for itself in gas savings.

"If you drive a gas-guzzling car, $300 is close to what your gas bill is a week. So if you can replace just some of your days of commuting with riding a bike, you can make that tank of gas stretch further," DeGolier said. 

Throughout March, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has also seen an uptick in ridership, up 60 percent on both buses and light rail, according to Sandra Bermudez, VTA media spokesperson. 

Now, the average weekday ridership is close to 60,000 commuters a day, far below the 108,000 daily riders pre-pandemic, but picking up. 

Gas prices may have something to do with that.

"I think the gas prices are driving people to look for an alternative," DeGolier said.