Published 12:00 am Friday, October 16, 2009
Pike County residents have seen an increase throughout the county as gas prices increased this week.
According to Public Relations and Marketing Manager for AAA Alabama Clay Ingram, nationally and statewide, the averages have increased about 2.5 cents per gallons over the past week.
“This is due to the increased price of crude oil,” Ingram said.
In fact, oil prices rose above $75 a barrel Wednesday for the first time in a year because of a weak dollar and the belief that the upcoming holiday shopping season will bring more traffic to the roads, reported the Associated Press.
The last time crude finished above $75 a barrel was Oct. 14, 2008.
According to Ingram, crude prices have increased over the past week or two because of the optimism that the global economy is improving, expectations of a cold winter and a weaker dollar, which is making foreign oil investing an attractive option.
Oil prices have wavered mostly between $50 and $70 a barrel since May with signs of an economic recovery emerging slowly. But a plunge in the dollar convinced many investors to pump money into crude and other commodities as a hedge against inflation.
Locally, gas prices in Troy, Brundidge and Banks have all increased from last week, but vary in averages from just a month ago.
The local average for Troy is $2.30, which is up from $2.24 last week and down from $2.31 last month.
The cheapest gas was found at the Beeline at 803 Highway 231 at $2.22 a gallon and the highest was found at the Texaco on the Elba Highway $2.36 a gallon.
On average, it costs $34.64 to fill up a vehicle with a 15-gallon tank.
In Brundidge, the area average is $2.44 a gallon, which is up from $2.40 last week, but down from $2.50 last month.
The cheapest gas can be found at the BP on Troy Street at $2.40 a gallon and both the Hobo Pantry and the Brundidge BP are selling gas for $2.45.
The average cost for 15 gallons is $36.64.
Banks has the highest average at $2.49 a gallon.
This average is up from $2.23 a gallon last week and up from $2.34 last month. It costs on average $37.49 for 15 gallons.
Gas is $2.39 a gallon at the Banks Buy-Rite and $2.49 a gallon at Sunny South.
As for the future, Ingram said the outlook for oil demand during 2010 is gradually building based on this economic optimism.
Also, helping to lift energy prices was the Dow Jones Industrials Average, which hit a new annual high and pushed past the 10,000 mark for the first time in more than a year.
Still, there are scant signs of definitive uptick in demand for fuel and refiners have been shutting down facilities for that reason.
“The refiners aren’t the guying buying the oil, but someone else might to protect themselves from the dollar,” analyst Stephen Schork told the AP.
“This optimism, along with the other factors mentioned, result in a stronger demand for crude oil futures, which in turn drive up the prices,” Ingram said.
The dollar slumped to a 14-month low against the euro Wednesday after a top Federal Reserve official indicated that the U.S. would keep its interest rates low for some time.
Weather could play a major role in gas prices come winter.
AccuWeather’s chief meteorologists on Wednesday said the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic could be hit this year by cold and snowy weather, and that major cities such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia could get up to 75 percent of their snow in two or three big storms.
Appalachia could see it’s harshest winter in seven years, Joe Bastardi, Accuweather’s long-range forecaster told the AP.
That may actually help keep gasoline prices lower because refiners will have to increase production for heating oil and put more gas on the market.
*The Associated Press contributed to this article.