Just as consumers thought their wallets were safe at the pump, gas prices started climbing again, most hovering around $2.39 per gallon for unleaded in Waynesboro.
Prices fell slowly after the post-Katrina price jump, when outrageous prices shocked consumers and rumors of gas shortages caused drivers to race to the pumps.
Prices finally fell below $2 per gallon a couple of weeks ago, only to increase 31 cents since then.
According to Paul Cates, owner of R U on E on West Sixth Street, gas prices have risen around two to three cents each day over the past two weeks. Last week, he said, the price rose 11 cents in one day.
Local retailers must scramble to keep up with the changing market in order to recoup the cost they will have to pay to refill their tanks.
“Gas is a tricky market,” Cates explained. “Even though you’ve got gas you bought three days ago that’s cheaper than what you’re charging, you’ve got to be able to replace that gas as the price goes up.”
Cates said prices change every hour, and there’s no sure way to know if prices will continue the upward trend in the coming weeks.
He did, however, predict that they may actually lower just a bit in the next couple of days.
At press time, the cheapest gas in town could be found at the Stop ‘N’ Shop on East Sixth Street, which posted regular unleaded at $2.15 per gallon.
Some low volume dealers may still be carrying gas that was bought before prices started to rise.
The other stations around Waynesboro are charging an average of $2.39, with Murphy USA just two cents cheaper at $2.37.
The Time Saver on South Liberty Street charged more than the rest at $2.45 per gallon.
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