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Gas prices rise in anticipation of summer driving season

Drivers filling up their vehicles the last couple of days may have noticed gasoline prices have risen above the $2 level.

According to an article by the Associated Press, the weekly AAA Texas price survey released Thursday states the average price of regular self-serve unleaded gasoline climbed nine cents in one week to $2.04 per gallon.

A AAA statement issued Thursday cites the approach of the Memorial Day holiday and summer driving season, the seasonal change to “summer blend” gasoline formulas combined with expectations of an improved economy, for the increase. The national average for regular self-serve unleaded is $2.14, up nine cents from last week.

Most drivers at one Port Arthur station noticed the bump-up in the price for fuel.

Porsche Hall said she noticed prices going up, but she doesn’t know the reason for the rapid mark-up. She thinks gas will rise to $4 per gallon as they did last summer. If so, she will drive less and combine trips to save money.

Donny Stinson said he noticed the rise in prices, too.

“The gas here (in Port Arthur) went from $1.86 a gallon to $1.94 in one day. I live in Lumberton and the gas there went from $2.01 to $2.05,” Stinson said. “I have no idea why it went up so fast. There are so many political reasons. Nobody knows. It usually goes up in the summer.”

Stinson believes higher gasoline prices will put a damper on family vacations, with more vehicles staying off the road.

“Vacations cost hundreds of dollars and it not only affects adults, but kids as well because they can’t take them,” he said.

Celeste Lemus said she hasn’t noticed any increase in fuel prices of late. She doesn’t foresee prices rising to $4 as last year. She can see prices rising up an additional $1.

“I use diesel. It doesn’t matter to me,” Lemus said.

Colby Culver noticed gas prices “went up a little bit.”

He attributes the increase to the state of the economy. Culver also believes prices will be up to $4 per gallon again this year.

Culver works at Allen Samuels Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealership. He said customers do not get their vehicles repaired when gas prices are higher because they’re trying to hang on to their money.

“I drive to Beaumont already. I’ll have to car pool with somebody,” he said.

Steven Grossman said he noticed the spike in prices when he filled up his vehicle Thursday.

“I was getting gas today and I noticed it went up from $1.96 a gallon last time and now it’s $2.01. It goes up the closer the Memorial Day weekend is and the beginning of summer,” Grossman said.

Grossman is a union electrician who works at the local refineries. He favors gasoline prices rising to a certain level to create jobs.

“Nobody is working and they’re lay-offs everywhere. There are electricians all over the country who can’t find work and come to Southeast Texas to work. I hate to pay $3 a gallon, but if that’s what it takes to keep working….,” he said. “I can live with $3 a gallon gasoline, but not $4 per gallon.”

dball@panews.com