AAA: Fall gas prices up

Published 12:02 am Thursday, October 14, 2010

Alabamians haven’t had the luxury of decreasing fall gas prices this year, AAA officials said Wednesday.

AAA Alabama spokesman Clay Ingram said that typically gas prices decrease during the fall when demand is down, just prior to the holiday season, but that’s not the case this year.

“We’ve seen it go up in the last week or week and a half across the state,” Ingram said. “That’s very unusual for this time of year.”

Andalusia gas prices currently average $2.66 per gallon, with the cheapest at $2.61 per gallon at Kangaroo Express and Murphy USA and the most expensive at $2.79 per gallon at the Corner Market. The average cost to fuel a vehicle with a 15-gallon tank at $40.04.

The average price is up 5 cents from last week, 14 cents from last month and 37 cents from this period last year, according to AAA.

Opp’s prices mimic Andalusia’s with an average of $2.66 per gallon, with the cheapest at $2.61 per gallon at the Tom Thumb and the most expensive is $2.69 per gallon at several locations.

That average price is up 3 cents from last week, 12 cents from last month and 34 cents from this time last year.

Florala has the highest gas prices in the county, with a $2.74 average. The cheapest price per gallon is $2.71 at the Chevron and Tom Thumb.

Those prices are up 4 cents from last week, 14 cents from last month and 33 cent from last year.

Ingram said gas prices generally decrease during the fall because demand is down.

“For the most part, the demand and the prices are tied very closely together,” he said. “It really comes down to our pump prices are going up because crude oil is going up, and crude oil is increasing because the value of a dollar has been devalued.”

Ingram said that since crude oil is priced and sold in dollars across the world, it becomes a bargaining tool around the world.

Typically when the holiday season approaches prices increase because of higher demand, but forecasters aren’t sure what the price of oil will be, Ingram said.

“We could see it come down or go up,” he said. “Our demand has been down the past couple of years. So far it’s much better this year than last year. Travel is up across the board this year, but not as high as it normally is.”

Ingram said the outlook for the holiday season will rely heavily on the demand, the value of the American dollar and hurricane season.

“It’s sort of all of those factors combined, including the dollar strengthening,” he said. “It’s really a wait and see proposition, but I don’t think we’ll see any sharp spikes or increases. I’ll be shocked if we reach $3 a gallon.”