Leader Blues

Monday, May 21, 2007

TOP STORY >>Gas reaches record high

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Gasoline prices didn’t just break the $3 mark over the last few days; prices zoomed right past that barrier, marking a record for the state.

According to the American Automobile Association, the state average is $3.03 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, up 25 cents from a month ago, but it’s hard to find a station in the local area at or below that price. One of the cheapest was the U.S. Fuels station on James Street at $2.99—but that was late Thursday night. A survey of local stations showed the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in Jacksonville is at $3.15, while Cabot and Sherwood average about the same. Expect more price increases this summer.

The rising cost of crude oil—now over $70 a barrel—has been listed a contributing factor, along with a breakdown of a Louisiana refinery, but mostly, according to AAA, its supply and demand.

Most oil experts do not see the prices slowing down or retreating anytime during the upcoming summer months.
With Arkansas now above the $3 mark, that leaves only 13 states with averages below the $3 mark. Tennessee and Mississippi have the lowest average per gallon of unleaded at $2.94, followed by Louisiana at $2.95.

Nationally, the average is $3.13 per gallon, with California at $3.46 and Washington at $3.44.

In Arkansas, Texarkana had the lowest average at $2.92 according to an AAA survey, followed by Pine Bluff at $3.00 a gallon and Little Rock-North Little Rock area at $3.02, even though some stations were pushing unleaded gas for $3.25 a gallon.

Northwest Arkansas is at $3.25 and Ft. Smith is selling unleaded gasoline at an average of $3.20 per gallon. For the local averages, the Leader surveyed eight gas stations in Cabot, and nine in Jacksonville and Sherwood.