By Johnny Jackson
McDonough resident, Charles English, says his struggles to pay for gas have only increased in recent years as gas prices appear to be oscillating upward nationwide and back to record highs in metro Atlanta.
"It's too high now," English said. "I can hardly ride with it. It's about to get me, because I can't afford it."
Gas prices jumped Monday in Georgia by more than 10 cents per gallon from a week ago. In metro Atlanta, gas prices were reported at an average $2.96 per gallon of regular unleaded gas, creeping ever slightly toward Atlanta's record high $3.15 per gallon price set on May 23.
"Nobody has complained recently," said Brandon Stewart, a gas station attendant at a McDonough convenience store. "From time to time, you get people who complain. But we've got a lot of loyal customers, who understand that we don't control the prices."
Metro Atlanta gas prices had gone down in June and July, with prices more than 20 cents cheaper just one month ago.
The national average remained slightly higher Monday than the state's average of $2.92 per gallon of gas, compared to $2.98 nationally. A year ago, consumers saw Georgia prices dip to an average $2.07 per gallon and $2.20 nationally.
"A lot of times, it's not about the gas prices, it's about where they [customers] are financially," Stewart added.
Crude oil traded at more than $96 a barrel last week, which drove retail gasoline prices up, according to AAA Auto Club South spokesman Randy Bly.
Bly said the all-time record high crude oil price tied the previous record of $38 a barrel in 1980 that, when adjusted for inflation, would roughly equal last week's price of $96.
"In some areas, we're paying 80 cents more than a year ago [in gas prices]," he said.
Atlantans paid an average $2.04 per gallon of regular unleaded this time a year ago, the lowest among metropolitan areas in the state.
But on Monday, gas prices in metro Atlanta averaged $2.96 per gallon, second highest among metropolitan areas in Georgia.
Gas prices in Georgia are still climbing below the national average, which recorded an average $3.00 per gallon of regular unleaded gas on Monday.
"With the U.S. dollar continuing to weaken and dropping crude oil inventories encouraging oil-futures traders to extend the rally on crude oil, gasoline prices will likely be on the [again] increase this week," Bly said.
"While it is frustrating for motorists to pay high prices at a time when they ordinarily decrease, history suggests that both oil and gasoline prices will drop before Thanksgiving," he said.
On the net:
Fuel Gauge Report: www.fuelgaugereport.com