New Year Rings In With High Gas Woes
Gas prices continue to climb to more than $3 a gallon nationwide, according to a report by AAA
Residents in Levittown may be feeling the financial pinch as gas prices continue to climb to more than $3 a gallon nationwide, according to a report by the American Automobile Association.
The national motor club's fuel gauge recently released a report that indicated the average price for unleaded gas in the country was $3.07 -- a 41 cent increase from one year ago.
AAA mid-Atlantic press officer Rick Remington said the Philadelphia region, which includes Bucks, is above the national average, resting at a high $3.17. Pennsylvania's gas prices spiked early September, quickly rising 16 cents in less than one month.
"It's been over $3.00 in (the region) since Thanksgiving," Remington said.
For Levittown, the New Years gas spike has been the highest price the area has seen since 2008 when crude oil prices exceeded $120 a barrel on the world market and demand skyrocketed. The current rise, according to AAA's analysts, is not due to U.S. demands.
"The increase has very little to do with the United States. China has been consuming more fuel and in general, the demand for gas overseas has greatened." Remington said.
As of 2009, China was the world's third largest consumer of oil. According to the CIA World Fact-book, China uses approximately 8.2 billion barrels a day –- double the amount it consumed 10 years ago. In comparison, the U.S. continues to be the largest consumer of oil, using over 18 billion barrels a day.
Locally, reactions to the gas prices are a mixed bag. For some, the increase has been only a minor reminder of several years ago when prices in the area exceeded $4.10 a gallon.
"To be honest, I don't even look at the price. Until (now) I didn't even know it was over $3," Bristol Township motorist Brian Breault said.
For C.J. Namey, who recently moved to Langhorne from Titusville, N.J. where gas prices are traditionally lower, the higher prices came as a surprised.
"I was shocked, but you know, I'm a pretty laid back person so I just have been going with it," Namey said.
Namey was filling up his Dodge truck at the time. The meter peaked at $51.
"It usually only costs me $40 to fill it up. I wish I had the money right now for a better car. This (truck) is a gas-guzzler," Namey said.
Higher cost didn't stop motorists from filling up, according to one gas attendant at Liberty Gas on Veterans Highway.
"It's been the same as any other day. What are you going to do, you go to go places." station attendant Cody Walker, 17, said.
In Levittown and Bristol many gas stations hovered around $3.07 a gallon for unleaded gas. Several stations on the major highways, like Route 13 and Lincoln Highway, exceeded that price drastically. The highest, the British Petroleum station attached to McDonald's on Lincoln Highway, was $3.25 a gallon for unleaded.
"Super" Wawa convenience stores have remained the most consistent within the townships not exceeding $3.09 a gallon. The Bristol Wawa on Route 413 was the cheapest, but by only a tenth of a penny.
While it is unknown at this time if the prices will continue the rise, residents who fear gas reaching the $5 mark are already contemplating solutions.
"I'm looking into maybe using more public transportation, or buying a hybrid or just a car with better fuel economy, something." Levittown driver John Frank, 26, said. "For now, we are stuck paying whatever the oil companies want. Until we finally had enough."
Remington was quick to point out that while motorists may fear that the prices will continue to rise, it's anything but certain.
"You can't know for sure. To predict what's going to happen to prices that far ahead, is foolish. It would be like trying to predict who will win at the Oscars this year," Remington said.
*Prices listed at the various gas stations were current as of Jan. 4, 2011.