0

Gas prices continue to climb

Photo by M.J. Subiria Arauz
Gas prices ranged from $3.49, to $3.89, at a CITGO gas station in Morrow, on Monday.

Photo by M.J. Subiria Arauz Gas prices ranged from $3.49, to $3.89, at a CITGO gas station in Morrow, on Monday.

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

msubiria@news-daily.com

Toria Cox, of College Park, was sampling Al Capone Premium Cigarillos to customers, on Monday, at a CITGO gasoline station off Jonesboro Road, in Morrow.

Cox finished her shift at the gas station, and decided to put unleaded regular gasoline in her black Nissan Altima, before heading over to the next location to promote the cigarettes.

She said her position at Inter-Continental Cigar Corp., requires a lot of traveling, and she sometimes has to add to the gas allowance provided by the company.

"I wish gas was a lot cheaper...it's coming a lot more out of my pocket," she said.

Cox said that when gas prices were in the $2 range, she was able to fill up a full tank. Currently, only half of the tank is filled twice a week, she said.

"I don't have extra money for the other stuff that I want to do," said the College Park resident.

Another customer, T.J. Bonner, said he finds it difficult to keep up his lifestyle, due to the "extremely" high prices.

He said $3.49 per gallon for unleaded regular gasoline, at CITGO is a good price compared to others.

"It's breaking my pockets," said Bonner in an irritated voice.

Christina Mancle, of Jonesboro, was also at the CITGO gas station filling her tank.

She said she is a mother of two children and the high gas prices are making her lifestyle difficult, as well.

Mancle said before gas prices spiked, she was able to fill up her tank once a week, but now she is at a gas station every day.

"I am here just about every day, getting gas little, by little," she said.

The average gas price for unleaded regular gasoline in the state of Georgia is $3.47 per gallon, which is up 3 cents from last week, according to Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA (American Automobile Association) Auto Club South. The average gas price nationwide for unleaded regular gasoline is $3.57 per gallon, also a 3-cent increase from the week before, she said.

The gas price increase, said Brady, is due to crude oil settling at $105.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, which is $4.33 more than last week.

She said crude oil prices rose because of the unrest in Libya and the Middle East, which shows no signs of ceasing.

"Consumers can expect retail gas prices to gain back any price drops seen in the past couple of weeks and then some," said Brady.

"As long as the turmoil in the Middle East continues, we can expect to see elevated oil prices, especially when we hit the summer driving season and demand increases," said the spokeswoman.

Brady said other countries in the Middle East experiencing unrest include Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The unrest in Libya has forced production and exports of light, sweet crude to be interrupted due to the unrest in the country, which has shut down refineries, she said.

Brady said Libya makes about five percent of the world's oil supply but its light, sweet crude refined there is globally used. She said it's the purest and easiest type of oil to refine, because it has less sulfur.

The AAA spokesperson added that Libya is one of the largest exporters of crude for the U.S., because the country has a large abundance of it.

Another contribution to high gas prices, Brady said, are reports that the U.S. economy grew more than expected--a 3.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010.

"Anytime there is any economic optimism, it is going to push oil prices up," said Brady.