Archive for Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Consumers get fill of high gas prices

February 23, 2000

Predicting gasoline prices is like playing the stock market, says Ron Brumit, owner of Brumit Oil Co., Leavenworth.

"You don't know what's going to happen from day to day," he said.

With gasoline costs at the pump hovering around $1.36 a gallon, Brumit said this is the highest price he's seen in his 25 years in the business.

"Nobody likes it," he said. "We don't like it, our customers don't like it. It just costs everybody more money."

Things may get worse.

"A couple of weeks ago, it was $1.21," said Terry Chop, manager at B&J Amoco, Tonganoxie. "They're saying it's supposed to be $1.70 by summer. It just keeps going up."

Brumit said his costs are 45 cents a gallon more on gasoline and 50 cents a gallon more on diesel now than they were a year ago.

The exact cause of the soaring gasoline prices is something of a mystery.

"They're saying there's a shortage," Chop said. "But first of all we heard that there was a big surplus. I don't know."

Brumit said it's hard to tell.

"Used to be it was supply and demand," Brumit said. "But since they put fuel on the commodities market which is just stocks a lot of it's on speculation."

The Tonganoxie school district, which contracts for fuel from Brumit's company, could be especially hard-hit. Richard Erickson, school superintendent, said the district has been fortunate so far.

"We refilled our 10,000-gallon tank right before Christmas for our buses," Erickson said.

The diesel fuel in that tank cost 78 cents a gallon. Erickson said the school district usually refills its fuel tank three or four times a year.

"So it will affect us during the second semester if the prices continue to escalate," Erickson said.

Tonganoxie police officer John Putthoff said he's been watching gasoline costs.

The police department usually has four or five patrol cars in operation.

"I would say we'll run through a tank of gas a week per car sometimes maybe a couple of tanks," Putthoff said.

"That price increase really cuts into the budget quick," Putthoff said.

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