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Gas prices up, then back down

By Ed Brock

The price of gasoline is taking a roller-coaster ride and many feel it will climb to the top of another hill by next week's Fourth of July holiday.

Last week the average price of a gallon of regular, self-serve gas in Georgia rose by about 4.8 cents to an average of $1.357, according to AAA Auto Club South's Fuel Gauge Report. That rise, while not monumental, "temporarily suspends the overall trend of falling prices," according to AAA.

Those prices appeared to have dropped in Clayton County this week.

"Regionally, prices have moved erratically in the last month," AAA spokesman Kevin Bakewell said in a statement. "The differences in price movements are due mostly to the varying sources of gasoline supplied to different parts of the United States during the summer months, including the multiple types of reformulated (cleaner-burning) fuels that are required in many areas and the heavy distribution of imported gasoline to the East Coast."

The slight increase didn't bother Dawn Dement of McDonough very much.

"I just paid for it," Dement said.

And the possibility of another increase next week won't spoil her July 4 travel plans, Dement said.

A rise in gas prices is likely, AAA spokesman Gregg Laskoski said.

"Because they typically do in advance of major travel holidays," Laskoski said.

The Fuel Gauge Report showed that the cost of mid-grade gas rose 5.2 cents to $1.459 a gallon and premium gas rose 5.3 cents to $1.523 a gallon. Meanwhile, the cost of diesel fuel dropped 2.6 cents to $1.397 a gallon.

The Atlanta area had the highest gas prices in the state but Georgia remained below the national average of $1.514 a gallon.

That rise in prices at the gas pump reflects an increase by gasoline wholesalers of the rack price of fuel, said Sam Kaba, owner of the Phillips 66 gas station on the corner of Jonesboro and Battlecreek roads.

"There's nothing we can do to control it," Kaba said. "We retailers have to be competitive so we have to stay at cost or up by a penny, two pennies."

The low prices at Kaba's station led Erin O'Neal of Atlanta to fill up her tank there while she was in Clayton County Tuesday for an eye exam.

O'Neal also expects the cost of filling her tank to go up by next week.

"What goes down must come back up," O'Neal said.