Triangle Gas Prices Near Record Highs Again

Posted March 23, 2008
Updated October 12, 2011

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— Gasoline prices Sunday were up statewide by an average of more than 75 cents a gallon compared to last year, as metropolitan areas in central North Carolina neared or broke record fuel prices.

Fayetteville notched a new high price of $3.261 for a gallon of regular gasoline Sunday, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.

Average gas prices in the Triangle, meanwhile, lingered less than a cent away from an all-time record of $3.269, set exactly a week ago on Sunday, March 16.

The price of $3.258, however, was down from Saturday's average price of $3.265, four-hundredths of a cent away from the record.

A year ago, drivers were paying $2.513 for a gallon of gas in the Triangle and $2.491 in Fayetteville.

North Carolina's highest gas prices Sunday were found in the mountains and along the coast. Wilmington reported an average price of $3.282 a gallon, while Asheville came in with $3.275.

Nationwide, the price of gas averaged $3.264 a gallon, up from $2.579 a year earlier.

AAA officials said they expect the cost of gasoline to continue to rise in the coming months.

"We expect gasoline prices to continue their upward spiral between now and Memorial Day," David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas, said. "Refineries retool in the spring for burning cleaner summer-blend gasoline and regular maintenance at a time when driving usually increases. That switchover has not yet occurred, since Easter this is about two weeks earlier than last year."

Parsons, though, doubted that prices would reach $4 a gallon in North Carolina, saying drivers will likely alter their habits and spend less time behind the wheel as prices rise.

Spikes in gas prices are directly related to the economic slowdown, the weakening dollar and speculation in investment markets, Parsons said.

"The latest spike prices are not fueled by either demand for gasoline or tight markets," he said. "Instead, it is driven by unprecedented levels of investment in crude oil and gasoline futures as a hedge against the falling dollar and a safe haven from sliding prices in other investments, such as real estate, equities and bonds."

Economic activity late this week, though, indicated that oil futures might not be such a safe haven for investors after all.

The price of a barrel of oil fell sharply this week, dropping about 9 percent, after setting a new trading record of $111.80 Monday.

"(Investors) seem to be coming round to the notion that the deterioration in the U.S. (economic) picture cannot be ignored on the pretext that commodities are a 'weak dollar play' or an 'inflation hedge', and thus immune from downward pressure," said Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global UK Ltd., in a research note.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery fell 70 cents to settle at $101.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday after sliding to as low as $98.65 earlier. It was the first dip by a front-month oil contract under $100 since March 5. On Wednesday, the expiring April contract fell $4.94 a barrel to settle at $104.48.

An unexpected outage at a Houston refinery and an advance by Wall Street caused April gasoline futures to rise 4.48 cents to $2.6051 a gallon on the Nymex Thursday, pulling oil off its earlier lows.

Most financial markets in the U.S. and other countries closed for Good Friday.


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  • dogs_rule Mar 24, 2008

    Fuel can go to $5 a gallon and people in the US will still be in a hurry to get to that next Red light. Ya know the driver ya'll keep blowing by with your foot to the floor who smiles and waves at you at the next traffic light. That's me. Kinda makes you want to kill me doesn't it. I'm having way too much fun.

  • dogs_rule Mar 24, 2008

    WXYZ wrote: "I see way too many people using big, 6 and 8 cylinder trucks and SUV's (many of which don't even have a trailer hitch!) to commute to work, which average (what?), 10-14 mpg."

    I hope you are not asking us to give up our status symbols. My double-wide would not look the same without my Navigator out front.

  • wcnc Mar 24, 2008

    And since the Dems took over Congress one year ago, gas prices have gone up about $1.00 per gallon. Some good they've made on their promises!!

  • jgordonfan Mar 24, 2008

    It is very interesting how much the cost of gas per gallon has increased. In September of 2001, it only cost $1.47 (Found this info in the Rocky Mount Telegram from Sept of 2001). Nowadays, the price per gallon is at $3.25 and still going up (price currently at pump in Rocky Mount, NC). My, how much things have changed!

  • Dr. Dataclerk Mar 24, 2008

    How high is this gas going to go? I sure hope not too high, then we will all be walking. Well the less fortunate. :)

  • fatchanceimwrong Mar 24, 2008

    Our government wants everyone to migrate toward electic, hybrid & alternative fuel vehicles because Al Gore says were ruining earth. How are they supposed to make us do this if gas is cheap. Of course the government can do something about the gas prices, but it works in their favor for gas to be expensive.

  • Space Mountain Mar 24, 2008

    "The ones that will be hit the hardest will be low to lower middle class workers who cannot afford to live close to their job in RTP or Wake County, so they live in adjacent counties and don't have any alternatives but to drive to work."

    This is exactly right!

  • RonnieR Mar 24, 2008

    Once again gas prices are peaking in the second quater of the
    Federal Fiscal year. It nees to peak in the fourth quarter
    to effect the Clerical and Urban Workers CPI. Probably
    be down again by then unless we have a big hurricane in the
    fourth quarter.

  • john60 Mar 24, 2008

    If gas prices go to $4/gallon, I doubt most people will change their driving habits greatly, because most of them already have. The ones that will be hit the hardest will be low to lower middle class workers who cannot afford to live close to their job in RTP or Wake County, so they live in adjacent counties and don't have any alternatives but to drive to work. For everyone else, gas going up that high will mean not eating out once a week, or perhaps going to Applebees instead of Outback. Where it will hurt everyone is on the cost of consumer goods, a double whammy for those already close to the edge financially.

  • GetRight Mar 24, 2008

    The part I don't get is that when we invaded Iraq I thought the original plan was to finance the rebuilding of the country with their own oil. As far as I understand that has not happened at all.

    I believe that I have heard that the Iraqi infrastructure pumping crude from the ground was crippled by insurgents. If that's the case wouldn't it be a good investment in this whole conflict to invest in rebuilding that infrastructure and then let it's oil production repay us?

    Somebody shed some light.