Local gasoline prices rising, crude oil prices falling
DATE:2009-1-9  FROM:  AUTHOR:  DOWN:2963
After a short-lived decrease, the price of gasoline is rising once again.

While the price of gas has not reached the level it was at last summer, gas in Lubbock has increased by 30 cents or more per gallon in the last few weeks.

"At one time, we were selling gas for $1.32 and making a few cents a gallon," said Charles Bolton, owner of Bolton Oil Company. "Now we're selling for $1.63 and making about the same profit."

Bolton said he could only guess why prices have been on the rise, but he suspects it has something to do with the price of crude oil going up.

"The price of gas isn't directly tied to the price of crude," he said, "but when the price of crude goes up, generally the price of gas will too."

Light sweet crude oil ended Thursday at $41.70 a barrel for February on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling 93 cents, according to The Associated Press. Prices fell over 12 percent Wednesday, marking the largest percentage drop in a single day since September 2001.

Bolton said oversupply was the main reason prices lowered in the first place and added that the nation is not using the same amount of oil it has in previous years.

However, he said he would not speculate about the future prices of oil because it could turn into a "guessing game."

Regular grade unleaded fuel in Amarillo sold for an average of $2.967 per gallon a year ago, according to AAA's Web site. The same grade of gas was sold Thursday for $1.683 per gallon.

Peter Summers, an assistant professor in the Economics and Geography department, said he thinks most people are taking the increases "in stride."

"As expensive as oil and gas got last summer, and to see such a huge reversal of that," Summers said, "not many people were expecting it and maybe people got used to it."

The increases could be affecting construction around campus, he said, because the increasing prices of petroleum could raise the price of asphalt.

Bolton said he does not feel like lower prices would be a long-term trend, but if prices could stabilize between $2 to $2.50 per gallon, people could afford gas and companies could still profit off gas sales.

The average price for regular grade unleaded fuel was $1.614 in the Austin-San Marcos area and $1.625 in the Dallas area. The national average for regular grade unleaded fuel was $1.762.

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