July 9, 2003 - Posted at: 3:45 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, Ark. -- Normally, holiday weekends are when gas prices tend to rise. In Region 8, that pattern hasn't been followed, as the price for petrol in the metro area rose three cents to an average of $1.39 per gallon.
While many in Northeast Arkansas topped off the tanks to their cars and took trips for the Fourth of July holiday, the returned to higher gas prices than when they left.
"Normally the prices always seem to spike up a little bit before the holidays and after the holidays they come back down," said local resident Denzil Smith. "They come down slower than they go up, but this time they're up higher than before. I don't quite understand it."
The question of how gas prices are set day to day, and whether stations are making real profits on the sale of gas is a common question among drivers. At least one Jonesboro resident says that metro gas prices seem a bit higher than they should be.
"They're paying a set price for it," Ed Weaver said. "I just think that they're fixing it here in town sometimes. You can go to Missouri and gas prices aren't that high up there it seems."
While prices outside the metro may be lower, BP Market Group Manager Lyle Davis says that his stations' prices are set from someone else in the company, and that they make a minimal profit.
"We try to make pennies on it," Davis said. "Mostly the prices are set before they get here by someone else. But I do know that I get a print-out everyday of how much we're paying, and we're lucky to get five, six cents a gallon."
Davis adds that holidays don't come into consideration when the prices of gas are set. When what they pay for gas goes up, what drivers pay at the pump goes up.