The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 21, 2013

Gas prices rising and projected to climb

The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — The yo-yo effect of gas prices has recently been heading in one direction — and that is up. The average gas price jumped 40 cents per gallon in the last month, up from $3.36 to $3.77 per gallon, according to AAA Carolinas.

After falling throughout the autumn months, gas prices in North Carolina hit a low of $3.22 on Dec. 20, then started a slow rise until mid-January when they began to increase rapidly.

Two factors are causing the surge — the increase of the price of crude oil and the seasonal change in which refineries switch to summer-blend gasoline, said Angela Vogel, public relations manager for AAA Carolina.  She said the switch restricts output of gas and tightens supply.

Vogel added that gas usually begin to rise around February each year and peaks in April. Last year, gas skyrocketed to nearly $4 per gallon — reaching the high of the year at $3.91 on April 6.

“We probably will get close to $4, but I don’t think we will get there,” Vogel said. “Once the prices began rising, drivers began to conserve fuel and the demand goes down.”

After April, prices are likely to drop and then go back up in the summer months when demand becomes greater.

Vogel said prices would likely never return to the rate it was about five years ago when the average price of gas was about $2.70 per gallon.

To improve fuel economy, do not speed,” she said. “ Every five miles per hour over 60, you pay 24 cents per gallon. And keep tire pressure to the recommended by the dealer. You can save up to 20 percent in fuel consumption.

The average price of gas in Tarboro Wednesday was $3.81 per gallon. Sunoco prices were the lowest at $3.69 per gallon while Handy Mart was at  $3.86 a gallon.