By Dari Kotzker
The pain at the pump continues as gas prices keep ticking upward. The latest reports estimate the price per gallon climbed nearly 40 cents in the last month. Reaction?
“It’s what going on in the world, so it is what it is and you deal with it,” said Jim Griffin of Robbinsville.
“It’s a necessary evil. I don’t like the 20-cent jump in a week, but we have to pay it,” said Rose Feingenbaum of Robbinsville.
That’s right — 20 cents in one week. The average price for a gallon of regular in New Jersey went from $3.34 last Tuesday to $3.54 today. The sudden uptick is on par with a nationwide trend.
“Crude oil right now is over $106 a barrel. The price of gasoline follows the price of crude oil and the reason you’re seeing crude oil rise is because nationwide inventories have been depleted just a little bit. At the same time that there has been an uptick in the demand, the use of crude oil products like gasoline,” said New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience Store-Automotive Association Executive Director Sal Risalvato.
Other factors pushing prices upward include the typical summer driving season, and the unrest in Egypt.
“Egypt has a tremendous amount of control over some of the waterways where a lot of that crude oil has to pass so that concern has people that trade petroleum products, their eye is on that,” Risalvato said.
Although it pinches consumers in the pocketbook, it hurts the bottom line for gas station owners, too.
“As the prices go up to us, we wind up raising and most of the time, we wind up getting squeezed more, we make less profit,” said gas station owner Roger Verma.
“It’s the little guy — who you’re buying your gasoline from — a lot of times he’s only making seven to 10 cents a gallon. I know we like to blame the guy we buy from, but in a lot of situations they’re not making, they’re not retiring next week on these margins,” said Chief Oil Analyst Denton Cinquegrana of Oil Price Information Service.
And the upward trend may continue.
“And I still think we probably have another 10 to 12 cents to go, so we could probably get up into that $3.70, $3.80 area,” Denton said.
With the analysts saying they expect gas prices to continue to rise over the next few weeks, many of the drivers I spoke with today, especially business owners, are very concerned.
Anthony LaStella owns an ice cream business. He says it costs on average $150 every five days to fill up his trucks.
“We have to start thinking about raising our prices. I don’t want to raise our prices. It’s been a few years since I raised the prices. I’m trying not to, but I think that I’m gonna have to,” LaStella said.
The highest prices for unleaded are at some gas stations in Rockaway and Medford. The lowest is in Jersey City.