Region 8 Gas Prices Up 13 Cents

August 20, 2003 - Posted at: 4:50 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Region 8 drivers are getting hit at the pumps again as prices across the nation jumped an average of six cents per gallon last week.

In the Region 8 metropolitan area, the increase for drivers is more than twice that number.

Last week, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $1.47 at metro gas stations KAIT sampled. On Wednesday, the average price per gallon rose 13 cents to a cost of $1.60 for 87 octane fuel.

In Jonesboro, there are signs, signs, everywhere a sign, all pointing to pocketbook problems from the pain of prices at the pump.

"Oh my gosh, I haven't even looked at (the price)," one local customer said. "I just started pumping, I think that's awful. That's crazy."

"It's outrageous, to go from $1.49 to $1.59," another resident said. "Next week I guess it'll go up to $1.69."

Low gasoline stocks, or supply, is what oil companies are blaming the latest price spike on. Tim Hamilton with the Independent Oil Dealers Group says the supply is down because companies are slowing down production.

"They ration it by price," Hamilton said. "And at this time of the year, it creates a situation where we need more gas than we have availability and right now they're bailing money in Texas."

"I think we're at the mercy of the companies, because if there was anything we could do about it, we would have already done it," another disgruntled motorist said.

As consumers there are things people can do to save on gasoline bills every month. Getting rid of the junk in the truck, so to speak, is a good idea. A car that weighs less, uses less gasoline.

"It's better not to run your air conditioner, if you can possibly stand it. " said Jean Ward of the American Automobile Association said. "It's a good idea to make sure your tires are properly inflated and other than that all you can do is shop around."

Despite the increases in Region 8, it is still pretty hard to complain about gas prices. On the nation's West Coast, motorists are paying as much as $2.30 per gallon for regular unleaded. Many economists say that prices won't take a major drop until later in the fall.