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Gas prices still on rise

With latest hike, some grades top $2 per gallon

With latest hike, some grades top $2 per gallon

May 07, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Gas prices in the Tri-State area climbed by six cents or more this week, with some grades topping $2 per gallon.

Relief from the increasing prices isn't likely to occur until the fall - if then - AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Amanda Knittle said Thursday.

"It's anyone's guess as to where prices will stop. All bets are that they will continue to rise until fall," Knittle said.

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Knittle said the main reason for the recent spike in gas prices was that the cost of crude oil hit a 13-year high this week, at more than $39 per barrel.

An increased demand for fuel in the U.S. and across the world, a cut in the production of crude oil by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other factors are driving up the costs of crude oil, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.

When the cost of crude oil rises, so does the price of gas, Knittle said.

"I think that I may have to quit my job because I won't be able to afford to go to work," Joan Chapman said Thursday while pumping gas at $1.84 per gallon at Sam's Club on Wesel Boulevard.

Chapman said she lives near Boonsboro and commutes to work in Leesburg, Va.

"If I didn't have a little car, it would be unreasonable," Chapman said.

Gas prices have risen 32 cents a gallon in Maryland and 36 cents a gallon nationwide since Jan. 1, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

At AC&T on Wesel Boulevard in Hagerstown, gas was $1.89 per gallon for regular, $1.96 per gallon for the mid-grade, and $2.03 per gallon for the premium grade.

The average price of regular gas per gallon in Hagerstown was $1.83 as of Wednesday, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. This time a year ago, the average price of regular gas in Hagerstown was $1.51 a gallon.

"They're outrageous," Hagerstown resident Tammy Robinson said of the rising prices as she got gas at AC&T. "I don't know how much higher it's going to get."

Robinson said she cut back on driving to save gas and switched from mid-grade gas to regular.

"I'm hoping that after summer it'll go down," Robinson said.

As of Thursday, the average prices in Maryland were $1.80 per gallon for regular gas, $1.92 per gallon for mid-grade and $1.97 for premium grade, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The average price of diesel fuel per gallon was $1.74.

In Pennsylvania, the averages were $1.82 for regular, $1.92 for mid-grade, $2 for premium grade and $1.78 for diesel, according to the report.

The average prices in West Virginia were $1.86 for regular gas, $1.95 for mid-grade, $2.05 for premium grade and $1.77 for diesel.

At Rocs BP in Marlowe, W.Va., just off Interstate 81 on Williamsport Pike, the price of regular unleaded gas jumped from $1.85 per gallon on Tuesday to $1.95 per gallon on Wednesday. The mid-grade fuel was $2.01 per gallon and premium grade was $2.07 per gallon.

Despite the rising gas prices, travelers probably would not give up on their summer vacation plans, Knittle said.

"Rising fuel costs have not caused decreased traveling in past years, so they shouldn't this year, either," Knittle said. "When it comes to traveling, driving is still the least expensive way to go."

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