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Gas prices up — but still cheaper on south side

SOUTHERN CRESCENT — Gas prices are rising for everyone — but the Southern Crescent is feeling less pain at the pump than most of the metro Atlanta area.

Numbers from AtlantaGasPrices.com show that the average price of a gallon of gas has risen nearly 12 percent since July 30, from $3.45 to $3.88. Some stations within Atlanta’s city limits are charging more than $4 a gallon.

Prices on the south side, though, are about 10 cents less expensive than the metro average. One of the low-price leaders for the entire metro area on Tuesday was a Marathon station in Locust Grove charging only $3.53 a gallon.

Gregg Laskoski, a Florida-based analyst for the website’s parent company, GasBuddy.com, said the reason for lower prices on the south side may be as simple as distributors using “zone pricing” to charge what they think the market will bear. Because Atlanta’s north side is more affluent, it gets to pay more for gas.

“We see that in many major metro areas,” Laskoski said.

What the area may also see soon is a spike in prices thanks to Hurricane Isaac, now bearing down on the Gulf Coast.

Laskoski said his website, which monitors prices at the pump based on drivers’ reports from smartphones, is already seeing stations raise their rates — including one convenience store in Miami that jacked its price up to $4.49 a gallon until Florida government officials declared a state of emergency and identified the station’s actions as price-gouging.

“We’re already seeing price increases in the gulf-zone region, based on what is perceived to be the potential damage,” he said.