GAINESVILLE -- Gas prices have crept up just in time for July Fourth festivities and travel, with prices the highest they’ve been since 2008.
“What we’re seeing is that the situation in Iraq caused gas prices to increase 5 to 10 cents across the board,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins, noting that recent fighting in Iraq has intensified, pushing crude oil costs up.
“In recent years gas prices have declined in the weeks leading up to Independence Day,” Jenkins said. “That was supposed to be the case this month as well. But that didn’t happen.”
Though the current price of gas in Georgia, $3.59 on average, is higher than previous years, it’s still lower than prices earlier this year.
“The good news is that it’s about 11 cents less than the $3.70 we were paying in April,” Jenkins said.
The initial increase happened around mid-June. With time, experts expect the price will lower.
“The price of oil is starting to come back down now because the concern of the supply disruption has been alleviated,” Jenkins said. “The market has become more comfortable with what’s going on. It’s fallen about 5 cents overnight.”
While the prices are slowly decreasing, they still are “about 20 cents higher than what we saw last year during the Fourth of July,” he said. “So we’re anticipating motorists to be paying the highest gas prices on the Fourth of July in about six years.”
For the 34.8 million Americans AAA estimated will be traveling over the holiday, prices shouldn’t interfere, just annoy.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst from GasBuddy.com, said the jump isn’t drastic enough to halt any plans.
“I see very few people that are cutting back on their travel,” he said. “The situation in Iraq sounds significant, but really when you look at it, I don’t think the 7-cent increase that we’ve seen is holding people back.
“I don’t think the last two weeks has made anyone kill their plans. Maybe cutting back ever so slightly, but usually the jump in price would have to be much more significant and at a far more expeditious rate.
“If prices went up 20 cents a gallon in one week, then you’d have people panicking and cutting back a lot more.”