Along the rocky California cliffs of Highway 1, about 70 winding miles south of Monterey, is the town of Gorda. It's not much of a town — one restaurant, a hotel, a number of tourists looking at the ocean view — and a gas station. All of the locals can tell you: "Gorda" is Spanish for "really high gas prices."
Catherine Smith pulls in, along with the rest of her Harley-Davidson motorcycle group. She starts to fill her gas tank, then gets a look at the price.
"Are you serious? That's ridiculous!"
According to AAA spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough, California has the highest gas prices in the nation at $4.60, about 50 cents more than the national average. She says the free market is what keeps gasoline prices competitive, so Gorda's remoteness does translate into even higher prices.
In fact, gas in Gorda hit $5 just a couple of months ago and went to $6 last week. And both here and across the country, Fairclough says, prices may jump more over the next month or two.
"We know that prices of gasoline typically rise higher in the summer months, when you have the demand for more driving. We just started at a higher level this year," she says.