Gas prices up about a nickel

November 26, 1996

Staff report

Travelers in the Tri-State area might not feel very thankful for when they pull up to the gas pumps this Thanksgiving.

A trip to the pump will cost more this holiday because of a price increase of up to 5 cents per gallon over the past month, local station operators said Tuesday.

In Washington County, a gallon of regular, unleaded self-serve is averaging about $1.30. Premium self-serve is running about $1.44 a gallon.


Gasoline prices are cheaper in south central Pennsylvania, but are still higher than they were last year.

Across the region, the price this year for a gallon of self-serve unleaded gas is, on average, about 25 cents higher than it was a year ago.

But the price of gas isn't likely to keep anybody home, as a record number of people are expected to set out for holiday getaways this week, according to the American Automobile Association.

Station operators said they have been told the price increase is due to a tightening of gasoline supplies by refineries in anticipation of demand for home heating fuel over the winter.

"When the market tightens up, the price gets very close to the dealer price," said Roy Littlefield of the Washington-Maryland-Delaware Service Station Association.

Littlefield said gasoline prices likely will remain high through the winter.

At AC&T stations, gasoline consumption is steady, according to Charles Goodie, company spokesman.

"In fact, it's been busy this week," Goodie said from his office in Halfway. "It looks like people are gassing up early for the holiday."

Steve Roach of Roach Oil Company in Martinsburg, W.Va., said he doesn't anticipate additional price increases over the holidays.

"The demand for heating oil has driven up crude oil prices," Roach said of the current gasoline prices.

Don Yeakle of Clear Spring Exxon, west of Hagerstown, said he expects his station to be busier than normal for the rest of the week.

Yeakle closed his other Exxon station at Big Pool, west of Hagerstown, last month, after 27 years.

Meanwhile, AAA listed the favorite destinations for Marylanders this Thanksgiving as New York City, Florida's Disney World in Orlando, Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Williamsburg, Va.

AAA offered the following tips for safe travel:

  • Buckle up, use appropriate child safety seats, and keep children in the back seat.
  • In vehicles with air bags, drivers should sit at least 12 inches away from the steering wheel while maintaining a comfortable position. Front seat passengers should sit as far back as possible from the steering wheel.
  • Plan your driving route in advance.
  • Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, blankets, jumper cables, and a flare or reflective triangle for emergencies.
  • Drive with your headlights on during the day to optimize your visibility to others.
  • Take a break when driving more than four or five hours.
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