Fuel prices cruise out of control

Gas prices are at an all-time high. Prices have gone up 25 cents in the past month with no end in sight.

One year ago today, the U.S. average was $1.71, today it is $2.21. That is 50 cents per gallon higher than the same day last year.

“We are at an all-time high for gas prices in the U.S. at this very second, and it is rising as we speak,” said Jason Toews, the co-founder of GasBuddy.com.

“The price of a gallon is 3 cents higher today than yesterday, I don’t think it’s done yet.”

The Web site that tracks gas prices up-to-the-minute.

One of the reasons for the hike in prices is the cost of crude oil. Crude oil now costs $57 a barrel.

Since it is instrumental in the production of gasoline, when its price rises, so does gas.

Crude oil demand worldwide also influences the price of gas. Red-hot demand for gasoline and crude oil in China has affected the crude oil industry. If demand is high, prices may respond accordingly.

“China is four times the size of the U.S. and is growing at 33 percent per year,” Toews said. “They are the second largest consumer of crude oil behind the U.S.”

Gas prices are also regularly higher during the warmer parts of the year when people travel more.

“We typically see higher prices in the summer and lower ones in the winter,” Toews said. “This is one of the biggest jumps I’ve ever seen.”

Refineries also contribute to the escalating price of gas. They split metropolitan areas into zones and prices can vary greatly inside of these zones.

“Gas prices can vary by 20-30 cents per gallon within one metro area,” Toews said. “Competition and zone pricing from refineries can change prices because of different zones. There can be 20-30 zones in a metro area.”

Gas stations have less control over prices than you may think. They do not control prices and do not profit from the sale of gas.

“It hasn’t affected our business because we don’t make money from gas,” said Mhammed Loulidi, 24, an employee of the Exxon station at Pensacola and South Lipona Roads. “We don’t own the gas, it’s company gas. We make money off groceries.”

Gas at the Exxon station is the lowest on Pensacola Street at $2.21 per gallon, but that is about to change.

“It is $2.21 (per gallon) today, it will be $2.30 (Tuesday),” Loulidi said. “It’s going up (Monday night). From now to May it may go up to $3.50. It’s gonna keep going up, up, up, up!”

The rise in gas prices is having a large impact on students. Many are talking about finding alternate ways to get to campus.

“I’m thinking about buying a bike,” said Nichele Richards, a 19-year-old criminal justice student from Brooklyn, NY.

“I have to find an alternative to driving my car.”

Richards said that even though she has a Honda that does not eat much gas, it does not help much.

“I thought about buying diesel just because it’s cheaper than regular gas,” Richards said.

“Gas is too d*** expensive!”

To find the lowest gas prices in Tallahassee and the surrounding area, visit www.tallahasseegasprices.com.

Contact Kyle Hopewell at kihopewell@comcast.net