Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Drivers reel as gasoline prices soar

June 21, 2000

The hike in gasoline prices is no joke especially to commuters.

Since this spring, the price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline has escalated from $1.29 a gallon to Tuesday morning's price of $1.79, at least at one local station.

A year ago, that gallon of gasoline would have cost $109.9.

One commuter, Jackie Wood, drives 72 miles in her trip to and from a school in Overland Park where she works as custodian.

As Wood filled up her car's gasoline tank Friday afternoon, she noted the increase in prices.

"We're all going to have to get part-time jobs to pay for it," she said. "I am going to look for a Saturday job to help pay for my gasoline."

Even though the gasoline hike hits everyone in the wallet, it doesn't seem to be keeping drivers at home at least not yet, said Terry Chop, manager of B&J Amoco.

"It actually seems like they're filling up more, and I don't know why," Chop said.

Each day's gasoline prices are as big of a surprise to Chop as they are to consumers at the pump and to the bulk distributors.

"They really don't know either, from one night to the next," Chop said.

Curt Wright, vice president of operations at Taylor Oil, Wellsville, distributes gasoline in Tonganoxie.

He, too, wouldn't hazard a guess on what gasoline prices would do.

"We really can't make that prediction," Wright said. "We're totally at the hands of the oil companies. Our cost changes every night at midnight. Sometimes it goes up, and sometimes it goes down it's all according to what the commodities market does. Unfortunately, the distributors and the retailers are totally at the mercy of the commodities market. Gasoline and diesel fuel are bought and traded like grain, and that's what sets the price."

In the 13 years that Taylor has been in the fuel business, this is the highest per-gallon price he's seen.

However, he said, part of that has to do with taxes.

"If gasoline's selling at $1.59.9, we pay 38.4 cents tax," Taylor said. "That's 20 cents state tax and 18.4 cents a gallon federal tax."

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