Make us your home page
Instagram

Consumers feel pain as gas prices rise

The price is $3.34 on Hillsborough Avenue, $3.12 in New Port Richey and $3.25 along Dale Mabry Highway. Tampa Bay area drivers can save a quarter a gallon on gas just by driving a couple miles. But many say they don't bother.

"If I have to drive across town to save a couple cents, it's not worth the extra gas," said Chris Melendez, 27, of New Port Richey as he filled up his silver Dodge Ram for $3.19 a gallon Monday on Dale Mabry. "Unless it's a dollar cheaper, which it's not going to be, I try not to drive around."

After months of stable prices at the pump, gas prices are on the rise. In the bay area, motorists could find an array of prices spanning anywhere from $2.99 a gallon to upwards of $3.40, AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said.

While this disparity might shock some consumers, Brady said it's not unusual. Different tax rates and types of gas are one explanation.

And prices trend higher near airports, major interchanges, attractions and rural stations with little competition. That's just the market at work. But the range coupled with a 12-cent jump in the weekly average account for the unexpected squeeze on drivers' wallets.

The price per barrel had been hovering around $85. But combined effects from a Norwegian labor strike and European sanctions on Iran saw that number rise to about $88, Brady said.

"It's not too surprising that we saw maybe some knee-jerk reactions with retail prices," Brady said.

That reaction led to the first jump in the weekly average since April 7 when prices peaked at $3.95 a gallon for regular, Brady said.

Even if they could save as much as $5 a stop, many drivers said convenience outweighs savings Sometimes the customer service or the brand is worth paying a few extra cents a gallon, drivers said. And sometimes, they just don't have time to find a better price.

"Just yesterday, I was thinking it was $3," Leschele Labdar, 33, of Spring Hill said, filling her gray Hyundai Sonata for $3.25 a gallon Monday. "I try to go with the lowest price, but today I was really on 'E,' so I stopped."

While Brady expects price stability in the market to return following this initial spike, she thinks the area has probably seen the low for the year. She also warned that price increases usually happen quicker than decreases. So even if Norway settles its strike issues this week, it could take a few days for drivers in Tampa to feel the relief.

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813)225-3111.

Consumers feel pain as gas prices rise 07/09/12 [Last modified: Monday, July 9, 2012 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  2. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — More than a decade after plans to develop a vacant waterfront tract were first announced, a new rendering finally gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District will ultimately look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  3. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location

    Business

    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  5. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder today further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    One of the fastest growing startups in the country is St. Petersburg's The Penny Hoarder, a financial advice web site aimed at helping readers save money. Playing a game in the office is (right to left) founder and CEO Kyle Taylor, vice president of business operations Vishal Mahtani and executive editor Alexis Grant. [Courtesy of The Penny Hoarder]