Gustav spikes gas prices in Albany and elsewhere - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gustav spikes gas prices in Albany and elsewhere

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

August 28, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Gustav sent gas prices in Albany up as much as 10 cents overnight.

Gas prices have consistently dropped for seven weeks straight, making a gallon of gasoline the cheapest it's been in four months. Retailers say the threat of the storm was enough for speculators to raise their rack rate and they've got no choice but to pass the increase along to you.

How high could prices go? That's what many motorists are asking and retailers say it will depend on Gustav's path and what kind of damage the storm creates.

A nearly 10 cent jump in Albany gas prices before the Labor Day weekend has some people changing their plans.

"I normally go to North Carolina to my home town for Labor Day, but I won't make it this year," said motorist Richard Worrells.

It's left others fuming, that Gustav's threat has retailers already increasing prices.

"The storms in Cuba. It hasn't even hit landfall yet and you've got all this gas jobbers going up on price and the gas they got in the tanks is at a cheaper price," said Henry Jones.

While the damage Gustav may cause has yet to be seen, it's enough to make speculators uneasy. They've raised rates 13 cents a gallon and retailers are passing it on.

"That's what all this is based on is pure speculation, but it's probably going to be fairly accurate unfortunately it looks like that storm is going to head toward Louisiana," said Wright Woodall.

That's where the gas that flows from Albany's pumps originates. After Katrina it boiled down to a supply issue that left motorists waiting in long lines worried about the supply and sent prices on a steady increase for months. How high prices climb as a result of Gustav depends on the damage.

"If it keeps everything down for an extended period of time, it will, but if it runs through there and dissipates and there's no damage and all they have to do is get back on the platforms it will be there, but it won't be as long term," said Woodall's.

Motorists say if prices climb even a little it's still better than what they saw a month ago when a gallon of gas was four dollars and five cents.

"Not bad at all, that's pretty good at $3.65," said Katrina Callaway, a motorist.

In Alabama, the storm caused gas prices to jump about 20 cents a gallon, prompting a warning from Alabama's Attorney general about price gouging.

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