High prices fuel driving decisions

March 27, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM


Llew Browne drove from Hagerstown to Rockville, Md., on Sunday, but he said that if gas prices continue to climb, he might cut back on personal trips.

"Not work, though," he said. "Nothing I can do about that."

He spent $31 Sunday to fill up the gas tank of his car at AC&T on Dual Highway in Hagerstown. He paid $2.49 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.

The average price nationally Sunday for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.50, according to AAA data. One month ago, that average was $2.25. One year ago, the national average was $2.13.


While prices continue to climb, most people say they will not stop buying gas - because they can't.

Richard Stenger of Hagerstown put $26 worth of gas into his vehicle Sunday. He paid $2.49 per gallon.

"I'll pay whatever it costs," he said. "I don't have much of a choice."

"It costs way too much money," said John Grimes of Hagerstown.

Grimes waited while his fiance filled up their vehicle at AC&T. He said it now costs $35 to fill the tank.

John Barkow of Hagerstown said high gas prices haven't forced him to cut back on his driving yet.

Barkow said he anticipated that prices would climb after hearing reports that companies were changing the additives in fuel.

"I heard it was going up," he said. "Plus, tensions around the world with oil. I anticipated this."

Ray Alston of Falling Waters, W.Va., said he bought a motorcycle to cut back on fuel when gas prices skyrocketed. He rides the motorcycle to work in Hagerstown, instead of driving his Ford Expedition.

The motorcycle can run for two weeks on one tank, while his Expedition can only go for one, he said.

"I keep an eye (on the prices)," Alston said. "It's ridiculous. The rich are getting richer, and they're sticking it to us."

He said things could be worse. He recently returned from a trip outside of the United States where gas was more than $11 per gallon.

Bill Noll of Mercersburg, Pa., said oil companies are making record profits while he's having to shell out additional money at the pumps.

"Too many people are making too much money," he said. "People should make profit, but they're just making too much."

He said he has to drive, so not filling up is not an option. He and his family have started carpooling, he said.

Noll and his son now drive to the grocery store together.

"We sort of double up," he said.

And he tries to buy gas in Pennsylvania, where he says it's cheaper.

Price of gasoline

Average prices Sunday of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline:

  • Nation, $2.50

  • Maryland, $2.54

  • West Virginia, $2.54

  • Pennsylvania, $2.49

- Information provided by AAA

Prices displayed Sunday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Hagerstown for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline:

  • Martin's, 1650C Wesel Blvd., $2.37

  • Sunoco, 1000 Dual Highway, $2.48

  • AC&T, 1701 Dual Highway, $2.49

  • BP, Dual Highway, $2.59
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