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Fuel prices skyrocket

January 22, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION

Consumers are reeling from a sudden dramatic increase late last week in the cost of fuel including kerosene, which increased by as much as 70 cents a gallon at some convenience stores.

"People are shocked. I've been here 30 years and that's the highest I've seen it," said Donna French of French's Service and Kwick Stop, along W.Va. 9 near Hedgesville, W.Va.

French said her fuel supplier informed her about five days ago that the cost of her kerosene would be going from 99 cents a gallon to $1.19 a gallon.

Saturday she was told it was going to $1.69 a gallon.

George McCleary, who works at the Wayesboro Mobil in Waynesboro, Pa., also said he has never seen such a fuel increase.

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The price of kerosene has gradually increased by 70 cents a gallon to $1.58 over the last two weeks at the station on Potomac Street, McCleary said. People are complaining, but they have to buy kerosene to fuel their heating systems, McCleary said.

Although people use the fuel for kerosene heaters, many use it for home furnaces too, McCleary said.

French said some of her customers fill 55-gallon drums with kerosene to use in home furnaces.

Scott Hahn of Hahn Amoco in Smithsburg said he could not understand why the fuel prices are being increased because the fuel is being drawn from a bulk supply that has been available for about two weeks.

"It's quite amazing," said Hahn, who has watched his kerosene climb 25 cents to $1.20 a gallon last week.

All fuels, including gas and diesel fuel, have gone up, station owners said. Although Hahn does not sell diesel, he said it has risen to $1.63 a gallon at some stations, which he called "outrageous."

Officials with AC&T, which supplies fuel to many convenience stores and other businesses in the area, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Hahn said he gets his fuel from Ewing Oil Co. on Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown. Ewing is referred to as a "jobber" which gets fuel from an Amoco gas bulk plant in Baltimore, Hahn said.

Hahn said it was Amoco, not Ewing, that was raising prices.

No one answered the telephone at Amoco's bulk terminal plant in Baltimore Saturday.

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