Local News

Gas Prices To Be At Record High For Holiday Weekend

Posted August 25, 2003

— People who plan to hit the road for the Labor Day weekend should get ready to take a hit in the wallet.

Gas prices will be the highest ever recorded by

AAA Carolinas

for the last big holiday weekend of the summer.

Conspiracy theories are flowing faster than the gas at local pumps.

It is hard to miss the jump at the pump. Many Capital Boulevard gas stations were charging $1.43 for a gallon of regular two weeks ago. Now just about everyone is up 20 cents a gallon.

"There is no justification for it," local driver Lloyd Nelson said as he filled up Monday. "In my opinion, somebody is making a lot of money, and it is not me."

Gas prices are skyrocketing nationwide. But despite the jump, North Carolina is in a relatively good spot. The South has the most refineries in the country, so the price when the gas gets to distribution terminals like the one in Apex is lower than many other areas.

Nevertheless, many customers question what happens between the local distribution terminal and the pump.

"Somewhere along the line, somebody is making some decisions on what the price is going to be at the pump," Nelson said. "The gas stations are just like OPEC, making decisions on how much. They get together and consort to figure out how much they are going to sell a barrel of oil for."

North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden said: "We really have a perfect storm here of increasing demand and tighter supplies."

Walden blames the storm on a combination of the big Northeast power outage, the heat wave in Europe, a nuclear shut down in Japan and continued production problems in Iraq and Venezuela. He said prices will probably go up before they level off in the fall.

According to

AAA Carolinas

, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the Triangle will be $1.60 for the holiday weekend. That is 27 cents a gallon higher than last Labor Day.

Right now, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in the state is $1.57. South Carolina has the cheapest price at $1.49.

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