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Gas prices spike near $3 per gallon as summer travel season nears

Anticipation of summer vacation is high, but the problem is, so are gasoline prices.

According to AAA, U.S. refineries are having trouble keeping up with the demand. That coupled with conflict in oil producing countries has caused the average price of gas in the country to reach an all-time high in recent days.

The AAA website stated the national average of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline reached $3.20 on Monday and was rising at the rate of more than one cent per day. The national average a month ago was $2.86 and a year ago was $2.89.

Monday's average in Georgia was $3.10 and had risen 33 cents over the past month. In the Augusta area, the average was $3.02 on Monday, $2.75 a month ago and $2.66 this time last year.

Motorists around McDuffie County are lamenting the higher percentage of personal funds leaving their pocketbooks for fuel. The average area driver is paying about $4 more per tank than they were just two weeks ago.

For Thomson resident Andrew Harding, owner of Harding Landscaping, gas prices are even more of a headache. The spike in cost forced him to add a fuel surcharge to each of his client's yards.

"That's really the only thing we've done is we've had to kind of supplement the loss," he said.

Mr. Harding said his company - which consists of two crews - uses between 75 and 100 gallons of gas each week. Between two trucks, two mowers, four weed eaters and two blowers, the gas adds up quickly. And he heard it wasn't going to get any better.

"It was on the news last night, and they said it was supposed to be like $4 by the middle of the summer," he said. "I don't know. I hope it doesn't get that high, but we'll see."

According to the AAA south region website, Mr. Harding could be right. Prices don't look to head back down anytime soon.

"The unanswered question is will refineries be able to resolve the repair issues and build fuel inventory?" said Randy Bly, Director of Community Relations for AAA Auto Club South in a statement on the website.

Web posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007

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