Gas prices creep past $3 in Columbus

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Many drivers getting gas in Columbus Monday had sticker shock, finding themselves shelling out more to fill up their tanks.

"It keeps going up and up. Every time you look around it's going up and up. I think the last time I came it was $2.99 so I was really surprised. I'm back and forth to work all week. It's hard. It's going to be rough. I hate it for the people with SUVS," said Curtis, who was getting gas at the Circle K on Airport Thruway for $3.05 a gallon.

"I think it's terrible. It's eleven cents higher. I saw it for $2.95 a couple of days ago. $3.06 is ridiculous," added driver Chuck Lowery who paid $3.06 a gallon at the BP on Whitesville Road.

"There was a leak last week in the Trans Alaskan pipeline which caused the prices to go up a little bit. Right now, it's currently $3.01 average a gallon in Georgia," explained Roxanne Towler, Travel Manager at AAA on Airport Thruway.

The leak caused oil prices to increase to more than $91 a barrel.

Also, the demand for heating oil helped push the price of crude oil higher, leaving U.S. stockpiles with a decrease of more than two million barrels.

The prices are still below the current national average of $3.09 and it's less than Georgia drivers were paying in 2008 when a gallon of regular cost $4.16.

"Today, they're getting crazy. It's getting ridiculous. I have a lot of riding around to do so it's going to end up costing me a lot," said frustrated driver Brad Smith.

Things fared somewhat better in Phenix City. Prices were a little less than the current average in Alabama of $2.96.

According to AAA, the highest Alabama customers paid for regular gas was $4.05 a gallon in 2008.

But before you make the drive over the river to get gas, we did find some stations in Columbus that haven't yet met the $3 mark.

Customers, however, don't seem optimistic.

"I believe it's going to go up higher, I really do," Curtis told WTVM.

"I hope not because I'm going to get a scooter if it does," Smith added.

AAA officials say the leak in the Trans Alaska pipeline has been repaired but they expect gas prices to fluctuate between five and ten cents this month.

After that, they expect prices will stay about the same for several months. But come spring and into summer, they predict prices will jump to $3.35-$3.75.

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