The Most Expensive Gas in America?

A day in Gorda, Calif., home to some of the priciest gas in the United States.

ByABC News
March 26, 2008, 8:18 PM

March 26, 2008— -- Five dollars and 20 cents for a gallon of gas. The number says a lot.

Yes, it may be the most expensive gas in America. But $5.20 doesn't begin to explain essence the rich, off-beat, some might say, eccentric, essence of Gorda, Calif.

Tucked away along the California coastline, three hours from anywhere, Gorda is the kind of town a car can speed through in mere seconds.

But for those who pull in, there is only one restaurant, one store, one incredible view, and one pricey gas station.

"I've only been here a year but this is the place I want to be and this is the place where I want to go to heaven," Gorda resident Julie Hogan said.

James Willman runs the full-service gas station with Brian Boyer and Nick Osborne, who goes by "Nick-at-Night," because he works at night.

They surprise an awful lot of people who drive by looking to fill up their tanks without breaking their wallets. But the gas station is the cash cow of Gorda, and some people have suggested the town's name be changed to "Gouge-ya."

But the price is just a matter of supply and demand. Since the station is in the middle of nowhere, it is awfully hard to supply. And because they are in the middle of nowhere, the demand can be big drivers passing through won't hit another station for hours.

"You know, it's a little expensive," one passerby said. "We put $20 in and hope. Keep our fingers crossed and hope that we get to another gas station that is slightly more reasonable maybe only $4 a gallon."

Willman and his gas station gang are among the dozen residents who all work or live in Gorda.

"It's like a home. It's like living in a giant wall-less house. That's my front yard," he said, pointing toward the Pacific Ocean. "I cook outside. I like barbecuing. It's almost like being on a pirate ship. Everybody is running around going 'argh' ... you know. We're right there on the ocean ... so, basically, it's a town of bachelors, really."

That might have been pretty smart if you knew that raising the gas price would attract so much attention.