Temperatures impact gas prices

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Severe weather throughout the country has been the cause for the increased gas prices, experts say.

In the Albany area, the price for regular unleaded was $2.55 Monday, which is eight cents higher than it was a week ago.

Demand for crude oil increased to produce natural gas and heating oil. Heating oil demand continues to increase amid forecasts for below-normal temperatures in the United States through mid-January, pushing crude oil to its highest price in six weeks.

"We probably will see retail gas prices go up," said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA Auto Club South. "They will increase here and there."

While an increase for this time of year is not uncommon, it is a little higher than what it would normally be.

"The prices are a little higher than expected," Brady said. "Typically, the weather is not this cold this time of year."

Wright Woodall, owner of Woodall's on North Slappey Boulevard, had a similar explanation for the price increase.

"The cold weather is driving (oil prices) through the roof," he said. "It's killing us."

In light of that, Brady said prices may eventually level off as the mercury levels go back up.

Woodall admitted that, while this may be the ideal situation, there really is no way to tell for sure when prices will stabilize.

"It's hard to say. Any distribution in supply could spike gasoline," he said. "In a perfect world, the prices would level off when (the cold snap breaks), but there are so many other issues."

Crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange traded above $81 a barrel Monday.

Nationally, the average price for regular unleaded was $2.66 Monday, a six-cent increase from a week ago. At the same time in Georgia, the average price was $2.54, an eight-cent jump from last week.

"Georgia is below the national average," Woodall said. "Even though prices are high, we have lower prices then most parts of the country."

Georgia has a lower gasoline tax that most states.