Brandon Bates of Lilburn pumps gasoline into his GMC Yukon at the Shell gas station on Five Forks Trickum Road in Lilburn on Monday. According to recent data from AAA the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Georgia was $3.37 on Sunday and gas prices are expected to continue rising in the next few weeks. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
Brett Walling of Grayson was filling up at the Exxon on Hurricane Shoals in Lawrenceville on Tuesday afternoon. The rise in gas prices has affected him pretty substantially, as he works two jobs at local restaurants and does a good bit of driving.
“There’s a lot of things I need to do (to fix) my car that I can’t afford to do. Gas prices going down would really help,” he said.
Unfortunately for Walling, gas prices are expected to continue to rise over the next few weeks due to a combination of factors, including the switch to a summer blend of fuel.
AAA, the auto club, said Sunday that a shortage of ethanol along with fears about a possible supply disruption due to tensions involving Russia, could also lead to higher prices.
“When there is no ethanol to blend in the gasoline, you could see the price of gas increase,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “That is because a higher costing product, premium gasoline, is being used to increase the octane level.”
Gas in most areas typically contains as much as 10 percent ethanol, AAA said, and in areas where supplies are short, premium gas of a higher octane is being blended with lower-octane fuel to reach 87 octane.
Jenkins said the May 1 deadline for refineries to switch to summer-blend fuel is also affecting prices.
“AAA expects the national average to peak in late March or early April between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon,” Jenkins said. “The increase is based on seasonal refinery maintenance and the approaching switch over to producing summer-blend gasoline that is required by May 1.”
AAA said prices, in two of the past three years, have risen by about 20 cents during the month of March. So far this month, prices have risen 8 cents in Georgia, 11 cents in Florida and 7 cents in Tennessee.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Georgia was $3.37 Sunday, up from $3.34 a week before and up 10 cents from a month ago. The national average on Sunday was $3.53.
Reactions to the rise in gas prices have been mixed, with some Gwinnett citizens expressing little concern about the increase while others are really noticing the damage to their pocketbooks.
Mirzan Husanovic of Lilburn was also at the Exxon in Lawrenceville and reported problems of his own due to gas prices.
“I am a Georgia Gwinnett College student and my daily drive is 14 to 16 miles. I want to get an electric car but there are not enough charging stations,” he said. “I haven’t travelled recently because of school but even if I wanted to it would be expensive. It’s really sad.”
Jeremy Ware of Smyrna noticed that gas prices had risen when he filled up at the QuikTrip on Duluth Highway, but he said that the rise had not affected his life any.
Some residents have not noticed the change at all. Elizabeth Albright of Lawrenceville said that she hadn’t been affected by the rise and that she hadn’t even realized gas had gone up.
“I hadn’t really noticed,” she said as she filled up at a RaceTrac in Lawrenceville. “I don’t watch the news.”
Vincent Leslie of Lawrenceville was also at RaceTrac and had his own beliefs on the matter.
“I believe that we’ve been programmed to think that gas is low when it’s really high. When I moved to Georgia 10 years ago gas was $1 per gallon,” he said. “My life has totally been altered. Income hasn’t really risen but gas prices have.”