Price at pump to rise
Yearly Labor Day drop not likely

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gas prices are likely to continue rising this week despite the post-Labor Day period traditionally experiencing steady declines, experts with American Automobile Association said Monday.

The rise is due to low gasoline inventories and high crude oil prices, said Randy Bly, director of community relations for AAA.

"With crude oil trading near record levels ... there is little hope for any drop in retail gasoline prices this week," Bly said.

Hurricanes always have an effect on the cost of crude oil even if they don't actually damage the Gulf of Mexico's oil infrastructure, said Gregg Laskoski, managing director of public relations for AAA.

Such was the case with Hurricane Felix, which did a lot of damage to Central America but did not affect oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Just the potential threat drives prices higher," Laskoski said.

Still, despite hurricane season for the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico continuing until November 30, Laskoski said he does expect to see gas prices drop sometime after this week.

"If you look at the historic prices after Labor Day they usually decline into November," Laskoski said. "I think we could see similar results this year."

Last year saw retail gas prices in metro Atlanta fall more than 30 percent from Sept. 1 to Nov. 4. The majority of the decrease occurred in September, with prices falling nearly 10 cents every five days.

So far this September, regular unleaded gas prices in metro Atlanta have remained in the $2.73 range and have yet to fall. Prices are roughly 9.4 percent more than they were at the same time last year.

"What I think we're hoping for is that we'll see oil refineries improve their output levels (after this week)," Laskoski said.

SideBar: At a glance

Here's a look at prices for regular unleaded gasoline, according to a daily fuel report by the American Automobile Association:

Averages/National/Georgia/Metro Atlanta

Monday's Average/$2.819/$2.716/$2.724

Month Ago Average/$2.788/$2.699/$2.735

Year Ago Average/$2.640/$2.510/$2.490