Gas prices near $4, cramping Easter weekend travel

Posted April 1, 2012 5:07 p.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2012 7:18 p.m. EDT

— As Easter approaches, gas prices are climbing a little too close to the $4 mark for many Triangle drivers who say they won't be traveling on the popular three-day vacation weekend this year.

"I can't even go out of town," said Akiilia Jones. "I'm from South Carolina and can't even go see my family because gas is like $5 a gallon."

Conor Crowell, of Asheville, is traveling despite the extra expense. He said it takes about a tank of gas to get to Raleigh.

"I have to plan to spend a little more money," he said.

In the last month, prices have risen 16 cents in the Triangle, putting the average for regular fuel at $3.89.

Experts say a big reason for high gas prices is fear about the supply of gas being disrupted if a military conflict occurs between Israel and Iran. Demand is currently outpacing supply, said North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden.

"As the economy recovers, more people are driving (and) more factories are using energy," Walden said.

He predicts the $4 mark will arrive in North Carolina soon and that high prices will tap out between $4.25 and $4.50 per gallon.

At the Handee Hugo station on Western Boulevard in Raleigh, regular gas was going for $3.92 on Sunday. Until prices drop again, Jones said she's staying off the road.

"Who's paying $3.92 a gallon? I am a single mother of three. I can't do that," she said. "Four dollars is half a bag of diapers. I have an 18-month-old and a baby on the way. I can't do it."