Travelers get a break at pumps

November 25, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

Gas isn't as cheap as it was a year ago, when a gallon of regular cost $1.34, but Thanksgiving Day travelers will find it is considerably less than it was just three months ago, according to AAA.

That could be why nine out of 10 Thanksgiving Day travelers are expected to drive this holiday weekend, according to AAA.

Gas prices in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia ranged from an average of $1.49 per gallon of regular gasoline to $1.53 last Friday, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Amanda Knittle said Monday.


Although prices have started climbing slightly since then, they were well below the Maryland average of $1.65 in September, Knittle said.

David Rose, 21, noticed the price drop at the pump when he stopped at the AC&T on Wesel Boulevard on Monday night to fill up his Jeep Cherokee Laredo to finish his eight-hour trip home.

Rose was on his way home from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., to Oswego in upstate New York for the holiday.

This was the first big drive Rose said he has taken since August, when his senior year started and gas prices were higher.

During late summer, gas prices increased dramatically as several U.S. and Canadian refineries were affected by the biggest blackout in U.S. history, said Ron Planting, an economist with the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, D.C.

That also was when pipeline problems in Arizona and refinery problems in California drove up the price of crude oil, Planting said.

"I think people have used the phrase 'the perfect storm' many times," Planting said.

Now that three months have passed, the price of crude oil still is relatively high, around $33 a barrel, but gasoline prices have noticeably decreased, experts said.

Gas prices have been going back up since the beginning of November as OPEC has tried to cut back production by 900,000 barrels a day, Planting said.

That affects U.S. gas prices because the United States imports approximately 60 percent of the oil the nation uses, he said.

The demand for gasoline also has picked up in the last two months, Planting said.

The Herald-Mail Articles