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Drivers feel financial pain at pumps as gas prices rise
Gene Clotfelter puts gas in his car Thursday as gas prices across the state increase. He said he has to deal with the higher gas prices while traveling for work. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

With rising oil costs, gas prices in Georgia are on the move too.

According to AAA, after the price of oil rose above $60 per barrel for the first time since June 2015, gas prices in Georgia were higher on Christmas, at $2.27 per gallon, than on the holiday for the previous three years. The average price in the state is $2.28 per gallon.

Before the increase, Georgia’s gas prices fell for more than a month by an average of 14 cents per gallon.

“We may see moderate increases at the pump this week, but the downward trend should resume in the new year,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman with AAA said in a news release. “After the holidays, gasoline demand takes a sharp turn lower, because fewer people take extended road trips in January.”

Jenkins said prices are expected to increase this spring. 

“The weak demand, plus high refinery output should keep gas prices low,” he said. “However, motorists should prepare for the seasonal 30-70 cent surge in the spring, as refineries conduct maintenance.”

Some drivers in Forsyth County said they were feeling the pain from rising prices. 

Translating for Antonio Chavis, who was gassing up and pulling a trailer full of gas-operated lawn equipment, Joseph Rubio said Chavis was impacted by the rising prices but typically kept an eye on prices.

“He said it’s kind of [high],” Rubio said.  “Most times when he checks for gas prices, he always comes when the gas price is low just to fill his gallons of gas.”

Gene Clotfelter, of Barrow County, said he drives around the metro-Atlanta area constantly for his job and “absolutely” saw an increase in prices. 

“About 10 days ago, I was paying like $1.99 [to] $2.01, $2.04 a gallon,” he said. “Now it’s been $2.33, $2.35, in the area all week. I mean, it jumped. I’m not sure why, but it took a big jump.”

According to the release, the state’s most expensive prices are Savannah ($2.35), Brunswick ($2.34) and Hinesville and Fort Stewart ($2.32). The lowest prices are in Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties ($2.16), Dalton ($2.16) and Warner Robins ($2.20). 

In 2017, the highest average price for gas was $2.76 on Sept. 12, and the lowest was $2.08 on July 5.