Annual Gas Price Surge Hits Early
Written by Fallon Pierson
Last updated on February 08, 2013 @ 7:47PM
Created on February 08, 2013 @ 5:51PM
 
Gas prices, two words no one likes to hear anymore.  That's because they just keep going up.  Usually, they increase in the spring because of factors like rising crude oil prices and slowing output at refineries undergoing maintenance.  It doesn't typically happen in February.
 
Just a month ago, prices were hanging steady around $3.40.  Now, they're about $3.60 or higher statewide.  That's a 20 cent increase, slightly higher than the national average of $3.56, according to AAA.
 
A year ago, prices averaged about $3.60 as well.  However, it's the sudden change in the price that has people concerned.  So, why's it happening?
 
Apparently, there's low inventories of gas in the East, and preparations are underway for switching to summer-blend gas.
 
Also, back in January, the hopes of a stronger economy pushed the stock market to a five year high, sending crude prices up.  This is making some locals have to budget and accommodate traveling long distances, issues they usually don't worry about until spring.
 
Alex Lewis of Harrison County said, "It came a little early this year. Usually, early spring, people start traveling and it spikes. It's not too bad, you just have to accommodate for it. Keep your speeds 65 on the interstate, you know. Try to budget for it if you can."
 
One man 5 news talked with works at a gas station and sees how the prices change on a daily basis.  He also owns a Jeep Liberty, that costs $60 to fill up.  And he commutes from Tucker County to Fairmont State University.  We asked how he feels about the sudden surge in prices.
 
Christopher Owens said, "Very poorly. Poor college kid. Minimum wage job and a gas guzzling car. Definitely drive less everywhere. Not eager to give my friends rides. Make them pay me a little more to go. I walk more places and sometimes, I just don't go anywhere at all. Some weekends I won't go home, because I don't have the gas money."
 
The good news is that analysts don't expect prices to get near four dollars like they did last year.  It's also good to know that oil production is booming and tensions in the Middle East seemed to have eased slightly, for now.

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