While gasoline prices in Southern California saw an increase in May 2018, a photograph circulating online had some social media users concerned that fuel prices had risen on a drastic scale.
The photograph, which was shared more than 141,000 times on Facebook, captured a price sign for a Shell gas station allegedly located on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles, with prices listed at $6.35 a gallon for regular gasoline $9.73 a gallon for “plus,” and $9.83 a gallon for “V power”:
An Instagram account that also posted the photograph (where it was received nearly 79,000 “likes) identified the station as being located on Crenshaw and Jefferson boulevards. When we contacted the Shell station near that intersection, though, a staff member told us that they did not have a car wash on the premises (even though the sign advertises “gas prices with purchase of car wash”).
Staff members at two other Shell station located on Crenshaw Boulevard (including the one at Rodeo Road) told us that they were not charging the prices seen in the photograph. We also contacted spokespersons for Shell Oil Company seeking comment but have yet to hear back.
We don’t yet know the origins of this photograph — whether it was staged as a prank or digitally manipulated — but we do know it doesn’t represent current gasoline prices in the Los Angeles area. Although L.A. gas prices have reportedly increased by more than 60 cents so far in 2018, reaching their highest average level since 2015, the price per gallon for gasoline listed on the Gasbuddy.com price tracking site does not exceed $4 anywhere in the vicinity.