Gas Cheaper: But It's Still Higher Than State
On the heels on the most expensive summer travel season in history, gasoline prices in Moore County are finally starting to fall.
AAA of the Carolinas told The Pilot that gas prices in Moore County were down to $3.62 a gallon for regular unleaded. That's compared to $3.76 a week ago.
Carol Gifford of AAA said that prices should continue to drop as the year draws to close.
"Prices are dropping and continuing to drop in North Carolina," she said, "and that's a good thing because we've had the highest prices in the contiguous 48 states."
As of Tuesday morning, several stations in the area had reduced prices to as low as $3.49.
North Carolina is still experiencing relatively high prices compared to the rest of the nation. Gifford said a gallon of gas costs an average of $3.50 across the state, compared to the national average of $3.21. Both North and South Carolina were affected by summer hurricanes, driving oil prices in the two states up significantly.
Gifford said the reason Moore County is experiencing some of the highest prices is probably because the area has a lot of independent retailers. Gifford said those retailers have had to pay higher prices because of the storms and are charging more to break even. She still expects prices to continue to come down.
Moore County gas station owners haven't seen a rush to the pump as a result of the lower prices.
Jerry Moore, owner of Jerry's Quick Mart on N.C. 22 in Whispering Pines, said he hadn't noticed any change in business so far. He figured that as long as gas supplies are plentiful, the prices will keep dropping.
"If it's available, I guess it will keep on coming down," Moore said.
Frank McNeill Jr. with McNeill Oil and Propane in Aberdeen, which owns five gas stations in the area, said supplies are definitely starting to rebound following the hurricane season.
"There are still some outages, but supplies are starting to get better," he said.
Because of the gas shortage and high prices, McNeill thinks sales and demand are down. He believes motorists are still being conservative when buying gas.
When asked why Moore County has higher prices than elsewhere in the state, McNeill said it is difficult to pinpoint because prices fluctuate so much.
Several residents filling up at the Shell station on Old U.S. 1 in Southern Pines on Tuesday morning seemed encouraged about the decrease in prices, but they are still frustrated that gas is still more expensive here than the rest of the country.
"We just spent two months in Maryland, and the price was $2.99 in most places," Bob McCormick said. "We do have sticker shock."
McCormick said he understands why prices are so high here. He was on his way down to Texas, which was devastated by Hurricane Ike in August. He said many other areas of the country weren't affected as much by the Gulf region as the Carolinas.
Tayloe Compton was just happy gas was available to buy even if prices were still pretty high.
"Yes, it's burdensome," Comp-ton said. "I'm glad to see [the prices] have dropped a little bit. I'm glad we have the opportunity to buy."
Gifford said AAA will continue to closely monitor gas prices across the state as they continue to drop. AAA is encouraging drivers to shop around without going out of their way to do so. She said just because one station is pretty high doesn't mean others in the area are cheaper.
"Motorists should look around for the best price," she said.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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