Gas prices jump in recent weeks

Published 9:35 am Monday, February 28, 2011

Some people may wonder how an uprising in Libya will effect them may find the answer at the gas pump in the days and weeks ahead.

In a “Washington Post” news report, analysts have said crude oil prices in New York topped the $100-a-barrel mark Thursday as the violence in Libya continued to shake financial markets. The price of crude oil has spiked since Libyans began a revolt against leader Moammar Gaddafi last week, but it has been climbing for most of the year. Gas prices are up by about 50 percent over the past nine months.

As a result of soaring oil prices, local gas prices have also begun to show a significant increase.

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Clay Ingram, a spokesperson for AAA Alabama, said the increase is a response to more than just unrest in Libya.

“Prices are increasing partly due to a slight increase in demand, but mostly due to the anxiety created in the marketplace because of the situation in Libya,” Ingram said. “While there hasn’t been any disruption yet in the flow of oil out of that region, there is some potential for disruption. This potential is creating the anxiety which is causing crude prices to jump considerably.”

Although prices have steadily crept up over the past several months, sharp increases have been seen in the Atmore area over the past several days. The price of a gallon of gas Friday ranged from $3.25 at the Citgo in Canoe and the BP station on Medical Park Drive; $3.30 at Chevron and $3.27 at Fast Lane, both on South Main Street to the highest at Kangaroo on Hwy. 31 where regular was priced at $3.34 per gallon. The average price for regular was $3.29 per gallon Friday.

Ingram said a typical rise in gasoline prices is expected during the spring of each year, but with additional sources of concern, prices may continue to climb.

“We have been expecting higher prices this year anyway,” Ingram said. “But, the situation in Libya has the potential to cause more of an increase if it escalates or spills over into some of the surrounding countries.”

Current gas prices in Alabama are much like the prices seen for the same period in 2008. Gasoline prices in Alabama peaked in July 2008 at an average $4.09 per gallon. Prices dropped dramatically in November of the same year to bring the lowest average to $1.48 per gallon. Since the 2008 rise and fall, gas prices have fluctuated with a slow, steady increase to bring gas averages to $2.78 in April and May of 2010. Since then the climb continued reaching the current average price of $3.17 per gallon across the state.