Local News

Gas prices on the rise again

Posted May 12, 2009 5:54 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2009 6:23 p.m. EDT

— When Tyrea Jones pulled in to a local BP station Tuesday for gas, he was stunned by the numbers staring back.

"I just started shaking my head," he said. "I was like, 'Here we go again.'"

The current average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the Triangle is $2.21, nearly 20 cents from a month ago, according to motorist group AAA. Nationwide, the cost is up 20 cents in two weeks.

In an already tough economy, the increase could be another squeeze on businesses trying to cut back on expenses.

"We try to work smarter. We try to be more efficient. We try not to make more than one trip to a certain area," said Frank Campisi, general manager of Fallon's Florist.

The company, which averages about 100 deliveries a day, made some changes last summer, when gas prices surged to the highest recorded average price in North Carolina of $4.05 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

Campisi said he's not worried yet about the recent hike. "We're prepared for the prices to go back up," he said.

Most experts have said it is likely that the cost of gasoline will climb a little higher for the summer. They said it is difficult to gauge how much but most don't expect it to be as high as last summer.

The reason for the increase, Denise McCourt with the American Petroleum Institute, said is basic economics.

"When the recession got really tough a few months ago, we did see demand really go down," she said. "In fact, we saw people change their driving patterns when we had $4 gasoline."

McCourt said because gas stayed below $2 a gallon for so long, people began driving more, and as a result, the price of crude started climbing.

"It's supply and demand that drives this market place," she said. "It's the global mindset about what's going on out there."

Jones said he is concerned but that he is trying to keep the numbers in perspective for now.

"I still look at this as cheap," he said. "As long as it ain't $3.99 or $4, I'm fine."