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Gas Prices Getting More Pumped Up

Posted May 15, 2007

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— Gas prices across the state are approaching the $3-a-gallon threshold, but that isn't driving motorists from the pump.

According to AAA, the national average for regular gas is $3.08 a gallon, while the North Carolina average is $2.95 a gallon. In the Triangle, the average is a penny higher than the state price.

A year ago, the average price locally was $2.82 a gallon.

Pump prices are expected to continue rising this summer, when an active hurricane season could disrupt production in the Gulf of Mexico.

"If some of those (storms) go through the gulf, hit refineries there, then we're starting at such a high plateau, around $3 a gallon, we could easily go $3.50, $3.60, $3.75 for some short period of time," said Mike Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University. "I think $4 is probably the next psychological barrier that people will be looking at."

Gas prices have doubled since 2000, but North Carolina still has the 10th-cheapest gas in the country. California tops the nation at an average of $3.47 a gallon.

Still, drivers are digging deep in their pockets and filling up their tanks. Consumption of gas is up from last year, despite the 14-cent-a-gallon increase locally from 2006.

"I don't know how people afford it, especially people who barely make minimum wage," driver Brittany Runion said.

"It's hard to come out of your pocket and pay that much for gas, like $20 for six gallons. That's ridiculous," driver Cordero Slash said.

Despite the rise in gas prices, economists said the cost of other consumer goods has dropped in recent years. Clothing prices are down 10 percent since 2000, while prices for electronics are down 50 percent.

"These (gas) prices have not slowed down consumer spending, have not slowed down appreciably the economy," Walden said.

35 Comments

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  • bricejohnson May 17, 2007

    also, don't blame the oil companies, they have one of the lowest profit margins of any industry, at ~10%. If you wanna get mad at big business, get mad at software companies and pharmaceutical companies with their 50% or greater profit margins. . .

  • bricejohnson May 17, 2007

    hydrogen is the closest thing to a viable alternative energy storage method that there is out there, but its still a long ways off. The reality of it is that people need to start driving mroe efficient cars. Hybrids aren't the answer (nor are they as environmentally friendly as they claim). Electric cars will never be the answer, unless a revolutionary advance is made in battery technology. Its gonna be a long time until something truly replaces gasoline cars. However, more efficient cars DO exist, look to Europe. They've been facing these sorts of gas prices for years (due to much higher taxes on gas) and have adjusted their purchasing behavior (they don't buy stupid SUV's) as well as their travelling behavior (they don't drive as much). It seems to be an American trait to try and point the finger at other people, but in relaity, we simply need to adapt to the dwindling supply that is responsible for the ever increasing prices.

  • Thornes May 16, 2007

    Guys, you had better do your research on the Hybrids. It costs 5-6k for battery replacement every 4-6 years. No matter how you cut this it is all Extortion. The Oil Companies are in the news Bragging on how much they make per minute, lol. We have a Oil tycoon President 2+2=4 in my math book.

  • Thornedwolf May 16, 2007

    10th Cheepest? Werent we one of the most Expensive places to get gass from a year ago?

  • ghwhitaker1_old May 16, 2007

    Gas prices are going up because oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico "could" be damaged "if" a hurricane hit them??? The gall of the oil people never ceases to amaze me. As long as Bush and his people are investigating price gouging no problem will ever be found. 2009 where are you?

  • Network dude May 16, 2007

    I don't know how to get people to listen to reason about changing the type of fuel we use. Maybe someone has some ideas. Quarterly profits in the billions (yes boys and girls, billions) is not fair. Call your congress man. Call your mama. Call somone and tell them you have had enough!!
    I love america. I just hope I can afford to live here next year.

  • Network dude May 16, 2007

    Why are we still using Gas? If we switch to a localy produced fuel, or better yet hydrogen, we can make the one's who get rich off of oil have no power. (where do terrorists come from? and where do they get their money?) And don't tell me about how incredibly expensive it would be to have hydrogen. Would auto makers be pumping millions into reaserch if it wouldn't work? IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE NOW!!!!!!!
    I am stepping off my soap box now before I fall off.
    have a nice day.

  • FiveOclocksomewhere May 16, 2007

    shiftgree...mine got deleted too and I didn't even say anything bad. Go Figure!!

  • the alliance May 16, 2007

    The gas prices are ridiculous. Somebody better get on the stick and get this fixed. Gas doesnt cost no $3 a gallon. We need to get back to normalcy where in 2001, gas was $1.18 a gl. Ever since then gas has gone haywire. America is tolerating this, thats what gets my goat. Any gas over $1.50 should be a matter of immediate concern.

  • elgatoxl May 16, 2007

    Capital Punishment Stops Crime, your math is correct. But you did not factor in decreased dependancy on gasoline and less environmental impact a hybrid has, well worth the extra money in my book. My nest car will be a hybrid, hopefully a plug-in.

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