More pain at the pump for Delaware Valley motorists

Friday, March 02, 2012

Prices at Delaware Valley gas pumps have gone up 7 cents in just the last week.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports the current price for a gallon of regular in Philadelphia is $3.77. In Delaware, the price stands at $3.66. And In South Jersey, drivers are paying $3.59.

The price increases have come along so frequently and so steeply now that some people are even timing their trips to the gas station.

RELATED: Check the latest gasoline prices in your area

"If you don't get your gas by Thursday, by Friday, the price is up," said Diane Hardie of Overbrook.

The numbers roll up at neck-breaking speed these days. A fill-up is now the cost of dinner for two at a nice restaurant.

The cost of gas has some people skipping dinner out and limiting their time behind the wheel.

"It hurts my checking account," said Grace Paster of Wynnewood.

The spike is being driven by market speculators, by tension in the Middle East, and by demand from emerging economies in places like China and India.

And, ironically, we're paying more at the pump because demand is down in this country. In fact, the refineries are pumping out so much gas, we're exporting millions of gallons a week.

Some wonder if there's a way to keep that gas here to help bring down prices. But the oil companies argue the refineries need to be able to export to be profitable.

Consumers just know it hurts.

"Well, I have to drive because it's part of my job. So I just have to accept the prices and do what I have to do," said Hardie.

Some fear the higher prices may put the brakes on the economic recovery. Others welcome what is essentially forced conservation.

"We're watching it. And I think there's a lot we need to do to reduce consumption," said Traci Baird of Narberth, Pa.

And with the prices going up daily, some wonder if they should head for the hills.

"I don't drive a whole lot but I was down in North Carolina this past week and actually Virginia is a lot less expensive," said Heidi Boise of Narberth, Pa.

Prices typically surge as we approach the summer driving season. But this surge is coming much sooner and steeper than in the past, which has some even predicting $5.00 a gallon and the return of the stay-cation.

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philadelphia, pennsylvania, gas prices, new jersey, delaware, local/state, david henry
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