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Price of gas to continue climb

Photo by Johnny Jackson
McDonough resident, Anthony Jones, pays more than $4 per gallon for premium gas at his neighborhood gas station. He makes frequent stops at the station, pumping gas in $10 increments to dull the sting of increasingly high fuel prices.

Photo by Johnny Jackson McDonough resident, Anthony Jones, pays more than $4 per gallon for premium gas at his neighborhood gas station. He makes frequent stops at the station, pumping gas in $10 increments to dull the sting of increasingly high fuel prices.

Customers still buy 2-liter sodas for just under $1.50. The 3-pack of soap bars is $1.99, while a large can of disinfectant spray is $3.99, and most candies and snacks are priced under $2. Those prices have remained the same for months.

Outside the McDonough neighborhood convenience store and gas station, however, fuel prices are soaring.

"Maybe people are getting use to it," said the gas station attendant, Rocky Patel, noting that many customers expect prices will continue to rise at their current pace.

AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report indicates that expectation is probably on target. Average gasoline prices in metro Atlanta have climbed 11 cents over the past week, from $3.75 per gallon of regular unleaded on April 25, to $3.86 on Monday.

The increase is partly the result of a 3 cent hike in the state's gas tax, which went into effect Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

Many metro Atlanta motorists, like Anthony Jones, will have to eat those rising costs for fuel.

"I'd like to see them [prices] start going down," said Jones, acknowledging his fatigue over the price spikes.

Jones pumps premium grade fuel into his car on his way to, and from, work, 19 miles from his home in McDonough. "I don't fill up at all," he said. He said he keeps his fuel gauge at about the half-full mark, pumping $10 worth every other day at his neighborhood gas station.

Jones said he sees prices rising in the future, and having no other choice but to pay higher prices, in order to get to work.

"Oil and gas prices are expected to increase again this week, if the value of the dollar remains at a reduced value against other currencies, such as the euro and the pound," said AAA Auto Club South Spokeswoman Jessica Brady.

Investor reactions to disasters abroad and domestically, Brady added, have continued to wreak havoc on crude oil markets. She said U.S. gasoline stockpiles also decreased approximately 2.5 million barrels last week, a sign of potential increases in fuel demand heading into the summer driving season.

Brady said supply was cut when seven refineries were forced to shut down in Texas, Alabama, and Pennsylvania last week because of severe weather and power outages. She said the stoppage reduced production approximately one million barrels a day. The refineries are expected to be up and running some time this week.

"[However,] consumers in the Southeast will see a 6- to 9-cent jump in pump prices at the start of the week, as a result of the refinery shutdowns in Texas and Alabama," she said. "The national average price for regular retail gasoline is now 6 cents shy of $4 a gallon, a price that could be reached later this week."