Archive for Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Gasoline prices soar upward

August 29, 2001

Walter Lee Denholm's job of changing the price of gasoline on the sign of B&J Amoco was easier than usual Monday morning. He simply moved two numbers, turning $1.67 into $1.76.

And that was just the latest in a series of recent gasoline price hikes.

Michelle Coleman, who works at Petro Pantry, said Friday that gas prices started last week at about $1.41.

"Then we went up to $1.45 and two days ago we jumped up to $1.56 and we'll probably be going up to $1.79 by Monday," Coleman said. "That's what Kansas City and Topeka are now."

Toganoxie police chief Ken Carpenter said higher gasoline prices are a concern when dealing with a fleet of patrol cars.

"But you just bite the bullet and go on," he said.

At Tonganoxie school district, Shari Curry keeps track of school gasoline purchases.

For right now the district's stock of gasoline is ample, she said.

"We've got about 6,800 gallons," she said.

The district's diesel tank, which holds about 11,000 gallons, has to be refilled an average of 3.5 times a year.

It's about time to be thinking about a new shipment, she said.

"I am going to be checking prices out," Curry said. "When our tanks gets two-thirds of the way down I start calling and it gives us a bit of leeway."

In January, she said, the district paid $1.14 per gallon, and in April, $1.02.

Ron Brumit, president of Brumit Oil, Leavenworth, which supplies the school district's fuel, said the hikes were caused in part because of recent damages to two refineries.

"If all the refineries are at 100 percent capacity, they can make enough to supply the nation," Brumit said. "But they haven't been because lightning struck one and a fire hit another. So basically what we've got here in the Midwest is a refined product shortage."

Brumit said he'd like to see the prices fall.

"Our margins are worse when the price is $1.80," he said. "We make more when it's selling for 99 cents."

Early Friday, gas was selling for $1.56 at Tonganoxie pumps, Brumit said.

"We can't buy it at the pipeline terminal that's below our cost today."

Terri Chop, manager of B&J Amoco, called the hikes "unreal."

"The prices just keep going up every night," she said. "It's crazy I guess it's the holiday coming up."

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