Seasonal increases hit at gas pump

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The wallets of Pike County residents may have been a little harder this week.

Though it’s nothing like last year’s high prices, gas prices in Troy have risen 7 cents since May 6.

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Troy currently sits at $2.19, 4 cents above the Alabama state average of $2.15, according to AAA’s daily fuel gauge report.

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The recent increase in gas prices hasn’t many people off guard, though.

“I think the gas prices are a product of this time of year,” said Alabama AAA spokesman Clay Ingram. “Increases are normal right now because our demand for gas increases due to travel and other plans.”

According to Ingram, the upcoming Memorial Day weekend is the cause for the recent rise.

“We usually see our highest price points around Memorial Day weekend,” Ingram said.

Fortunately for gas buyers, Ingram believes prices will fall soon.

“Once Memorial Day is behind us, we should see a little drop in prices,” Ingram said. “After that, prices should remain pretty stable for the rest of the summer before they start to fall off again in the fall.”

One gas station customer agreed the increase in prices is not surprising.

“This is expected because it’s the summertime and prices always go up this time of year, so I don’t see what the problem is,” said Shelton Brannon, who was pumping gas at the Fillin’ Station Wednesday.

However, some gas buyers are upset with the recent increase in prices.

“This is pitiful,” said Hawk Hawkins, a Murphy USA customer. “I am not going anywhere. I’m going to my back yard.”

Still, others are undaunted by higher prices and fully intend on enjoying their summers.

“I still traveled some last year when the prices were twice as high,” Brannon said.

At this time last year, the average price of gas in Alabama was $3.65, $1.46 more than the current average price.

Troy’s gas prices are also 7 cents cheaper than the national average of $2.26.

Ricky Patel, owner of the Beeline on South Brundidge Street, also said most customers are just relieved to not have last year’s prices still around.

“Since last year, most of the customers follow what’s going on with the oil prices,” Patel said. “But, this isn’t anything like last year. People have seen around $4 a gallon, and now it’s down back around $2 a gallon.”

Even though customers are happy to not be paying more than $3.50 for a gallon of gas, Patel has noticed his business has slowed in the past week.

“It does affect the business a little bit. People try to get whatever they can in one trip instead of making frequent visits,” Patel said.

However, Brannon said the high prices might do him good in areas other than finances.

“It might be a good thing because the first thing that I cut back when gas prices go up is my cigarette purchases,” Brannon said.