California's record gas prices are putting the squeeze on families with children in the hospital, forcing at least one family to pay more than $300 each time they visit their newborn son in intensive care.
Tinisha Dominguez, a mother of four from Tulare, Calif., is living by the bedside of her newborn son Davy at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital after doctors performed a life-saving surgery on him, according to a Bay Area ABC affiliate. Dominguez's husband has only been able to make intermittent visits, sometimes borrowing gas money from a local nonprofit for the more than three-and-a-half-hour trip.
Gas prices in California hit $5.86 per gallon on Monday—a dollar and a half more than the national average. Some counties are even topping $6 a gallon. The record high gas prices have kept pace with rising inflation, which reached a 40-year high in February. Both have steadily increased since President Joe Biden's inauguration, hastened by a flurry of federal stimulus spending and ongoing disruptions to the energy supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
A national poll last week found four in five voters want Biden to increase U.S. energy production to combat disruptions to the oil and gas supply. The Biden administration in the first week of March banned all Russian imports of oil and gas to the United States but has not yet moved to increase domestic oil and gas production.
"It's really hard, but I've got to be strong for all of us," Dominguez told ABC7 KGO. "My husband does come back and forth when he can. It is hard due to the gas prices."
Sara Alexander, the executive director of There With Care, the nonprofit helping the Dominguez family, told ABC7 families are grappling with fuel costs four times as high as before.
"Previously, we were helping families with $25 to $50 worth of gas and now knowing that a tank of gas can cost more than $100 we recognize there's so much more we can do," Alexander said. She encouraged those who can to donate at their website.