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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 18, 2021

Photos of high gas prices are at a California station that’s not yet open

If Your Time is short

  • These photos appear to be taken at a Circle K station that has not yet opened. It’s common for closed stations to put fake, high prices on their signs to discourage drivers from stopping. 
 

A viral image of a Circle K convenience store gas station sign with eyebrow-raising prices is raising eyebrows on the internet. 

"Location: East Lancaster, Antelope Valley, California," a description of the image says. "11/9/2021." 

It shows $6.99 a gallon for unleaded gas, $8.90 for premium and $9.90 for diesel. 

Some people sharing the photo are blaming President Joe Biden. 

"Way to go, Joe," one person wrote

The image appears to be authentic, but the prices aren’t. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Gasoline prices have been rising steadily since mid-2020, and Californians pay some of the highest prices in the nation. For the week that ended Nov. 15, the price for all grades of gasoline in California averaged $4.619 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s up from $3.186 at the start of the year, but not even close to the amounts on the sign in the photo.

We searched Circle K’s website for locations in Lancaster, which is north of Los Angeles. It shows that there are two that are open and one, at 108 E. Ave. K, that is listed as "coming soon."  

We looked up the other stations on GasBuddy and found that regular gas was reported at one as costing $4.79 a gallon, $5.09 for premium and $4.89 for diesel. Prices were similar at the other station

Searching the address for the third, not-yet-open location, we found a Google street image from March that shows an empty, dusty lot with green construction fencing on the perimeter. A tag that shows the company providing the fencing — United Site Services — is visible in the picture. 

That same kind of fencing and United tag appears in what looks like another photo of the Circle K sign. All the prices shown in that photo are the same — $6.99 for unleaded, and so on. 

"The store isn’t open yet," tweeted the person sharing the photo. "They do that so people don’t stop to get gas." 

Snopes found another tweet of someone sharing the same photo.

"I drove by this last week," they said. "It’s a brand new Circle K, not open yet." 

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In March, we fact-checked a similar image that appeared to show a New Mexico gas station with gas costing $7.89 a gallon. There too the station hadn’t opened yet. It’s common for closed stations to advertise high prices so that drivers don’t stop

We rate claims that gas is selling for these prices at Circle K in Lancaster False.

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, Nov. 10, 2021

Facebook post, Nov. 13, 2021

Facebook post, Nov. 7, 2021

Circle K Lancaster, Calif., stores, visited Nov. 17, 2021

GasBuddy, Mobil in Lancaster (4415 20th St W), visited Nov. 17, 2021

GasBuddy, Mobil in Lancaster, (2343 W Ave J), visited Nov. 17, 2021

Google Maps image of 108 E Ave K, Lancaster, visited Nov. 17, 2021

Tweet, Nov. 13, 2021

Tweet, Nov. 13, 2021

WFMY, Is gas really $9.99 in NC? Several gas stations have that price up on their signs, May 12, 2021

PolitiFact, No, gas doesn’t cost $7.89 in Albuquerque, March 23, 2021

Snopes, Did gas prices rise to $6.99 in Lancaster, California?, Nov. 16, 2021

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Photos of high gas prices are at a California station that’s not yet open

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