Pike County drivers feel the pinch as gas prices rise

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2016


Pike County drivers are feeling the pinch as gas prices begin to rise.

Gas prices around the country are rising, with the national average currently at $2.36, 15 cents higher then it was at the same time last month.

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Alabama’s average is lower at $2.16, but prices have still gone up in the state 12 cents since last month, according to American Automobile Association (AAA) spokesperson Clay Ingram.

“We kind of expected this,” Ingram said. “We tend to hit our peak within a few weeks of Memorial Day, whether before or after. It may go up a bit more, but I don’t think we’ll see much of an increase for the rest of the year.”

Ingram said he expects prices to remain relatively stable throughout the summer and begin to drop more substantially in the fall and winter months.

“Once people get done taking their summer vacations, you can usually expect prices to go down,” he said.

Ingram said the good news is that last year’s high point was $2.54 and it looks like prices won’t get that high in 2016.

A short-term energy outlook released Tuesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects national gas prices to average $2.27 per gallon in the summer driving season, which it defines as April through September. The forecasted price is 6 cents higher than the EIA’s May forecast, but still 36 cents lower than last year’s average. The EIA projected a national average of $2.13 per gallon for 2016 in the forecast.

According to the release, Benchmark North Sea Brent crude spot oil averaged $47 per barrel, a $5 increase from April and the fourth straight monthly increase since January, when prices reach a 12-year low at an average of $37 per barrel. Despite the increases, crude oil remains at prices lower than they were a year ago.

The forecast points to diminishing U.S. production, global production disruptions, and high demand as causes for the recent rise in oil prices.

The report also said that the EIA expects global oil inventory builds to limit upward price pressures for the coming months, but predicts prices to begin rising in the first half of 2017, and to accelerate particularly in the summer months.

So while gas prices are rising relative to earlier this year, this summer is projected have lower gas prices than last summer and next summer. To save more money on gas, AAA Alabama’s website has a “Gas Watcher’s Guide” with tips on how to conserve fuel such as:

Slow down; vehicles burn more fuel at higher speeds

Minimize braking by watching traffic ahead

Avoid quick starts and stops

Keep you tires properly inflated

Consolidate trips and errands