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Gas prices chugging higher as holidays near

Posted November 1, 2009
Updated November 2, 2009

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— With the holidays approaching, Americans are paying more for gasoline than they did last year.

“Of course ... they know everybody is going to go on vacation. They need to drive places,” driver Hayley Hammond said Sunday of the rising gas prices.

Gas averaged nationally nearly $2.70 a gallon Sunday, the highest of the year – adding bad news to an already fragile economy.

In North Carolina, gas averaged $2.64 a gallon, and the price varied little, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report. There was no more than a 5-cent difference in prices among metropolitan areas.

In the Triangle, drivers were paying about $2.65 a gallon, up 3 cents from a week earlier and a quarter from a month earlier. Fayetteville drivers had the lowest prices, at $2.61 a gallon.

Graham Outten, of Raleigh, said he's noticed the rise in gas prices when making the trip to Kitty Hawk, one of his favorite recreation spots.

“I think at one point, we got really excited on the beach. It (gas) got down to like $1.98, and we were just like, ‘Yes!’ And then it just went right back up,” Outten said.

Gas prices plunged by 93 cents per gallon between Oct. 30, 2008, and the end of the year. It was a generous break, just in time for the holidays.

Thanks mostly to the weak dollar, that is no longer the case. When a gallon of gas runs from $2.50 to $3, people begin to notice, economy experts say.

“Always look at oil prices and what oil prices are doing,” N.C. State economist Mike Walden said of determining when gas prices will rise.

Walden said higher fuel prices also go hand in hand with an economy trying to rebound.

“An improving world economy means that there is going to be more energy used (and) more driving," he said. "Factories are going to use more fuel and that drives up the price of oil, and that directly leads to higher gas prices."

Prices today are a far cry from the $4 a gallon peak in July 2008. Crude oil, which neared $150 per barrel last year, is trading at about $80 now. Drivers are feeling the pain nonetheless.

“I drove all day long, so it is really hurting my pockets a little bit,” driver Jacob Schulz said in Raleigh.

22 Comments

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  • vote4changeASAP Nov 2, 2009

    Higher gas prices mean higher heating gas prices.

    Talk conserve all you want. When your broke or unemployed, there is nothing to conserve.

  • LocalYokel Nov 2, 2009

    Dinosaur Juice SHOULD be expensive. Economics...how else will gluttonous Americans learn to respect it and conserve it? We do not have an infinite supply of oil and we need oil for plastics, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.

  • Garnerwolf1 Nov 2, 2009

    Basic economics. If you're willing to pay more, especially during a period of high demand, what business is not going to charge more? If you want the price to not rise, or go down, stop driving which means no "over the hills and through the woods..."

  • wildervb Nov 2, 2009

    "Mastercraft - isn't your argument a little lame???"

    His arguement makes all the sense in the world. If you have a product and people are willing to pay 2 or 3 or 4 dollars for it, wouldn't you sell it for the highest price you could. If people stopped using your product, or you were afraid they were going to stop wouldn't you lower the price?

  • csplantlover Nov 2, 2009

    Mastercraft - isn't your argument a little lame???

  • 93mastercraft Nov 2, 2009

    Why should gas prices go down? This weekend, our family took trip to the mountains from the triangle, I40 was pretty much bumper to bumber the whole way there and back. Friday we waited in a 45min traffic jam in Statesville! Huhhh, the only place gas prices are going is up, at the rate we are burning it. No one has anyone to blame but ourselves!

  • wildervb Nov 2, 2009

    "SO why doesn't the government step in and do something to keep the rich oil people from doing this, I will tell you why because they wanted CHANGE, only change we get is the Fleecing of the US people."

    So you think we should nationalize the oil companies the way Venezuela did?

    The change we can make is to reduce our consumption of oil. Once we've reduced it enough the price of oil won't be an issue more.

  • ranquick Nov 2, 2009

    SO why doesn't the government step in and do something to keep the rich oil people from doing this, I will tell you why because they wanted CHANGE, only change we get is the Fleecing of the US people.

  • donnied1952 Nov 2, 2009

    These prices of gas going up are the same theory that was applied to the residents of Wake county's water bills.
    They were asked to conserve and use less water, so their water bills went up.
    The general public cannot win, they got us either way we turn.

  • TheAdmiral Nov 2, 2009

    Gas prices go higher - a recovery is unlikely. It is already 30 cents higher than a year ago - and guess what? It went in the tubes.

    They are trying to price the fuel to see what is acceptable by Americans.

    No jobs means no purchasing power for fuel.

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