ALBANY, Ga. -- The American Automobile Association said regular unleaded gas in Albany on Friday was, in some cases, as much as 20 cents per gallon higher than the state average as prices continued to skyrocket heading into the weekend.
A windshield survey of stations around Albany Friday revealed that the average price of regular unleaded gasoline was hovering around $3.35 per gallon.
The cheapest gas spotted was at a station on Slappey Boulevard, which was posted at $3.29, with the highest at a station just a few blocks north on Slappey at $3.45.
AAA's daily national fuel average had the price of a gallon of regular unleaded Friday in the U.S. at $3.28 per gallon. In Georgia, the average price was $3.20 per gallon.
Hawaii has the nation's most expensive regular unleaded fillup with consumers there paying $3.75 per gallon.
Experts are conflicting on whether this week's spike in prices means we're headed for record fuel costs -- AAA predicted long before the unrest in the Middle East that prices would hit $3.75 by late Spring -- or if prices will likely stabilize as tensions ease.
But the fact remains, it's making for some very frustrated commuters.
"This is just ridiculous," Janet Johnson of Mitchell County said Friday. "The fact that it could jump so high so fast ... It's just ridiculous, that's all I can say."
The so-called pain at the pump may end up chafing taxpayers in a different way, especially if gas climbs above the $4 mark before the end of the year.
That $4 target is what city officials have used to budget their fuel costs, Central Services Director Stephen Collier said.
"We have an annual contract, but the price fluctuates daily based on the price of fuel," Collier said. "We have a lot of vehicles out on the road at any given time -- police cars, firetrucks, public works -- that use a lot of fuel, so we do get a good discount off of pump prices. But we've told our managers to budget for $4 hoping that it wouldn't actually reach that."
Based on recent data provided by Collier, the city burns up roughly 502,000 gallons of regular unleaded gas each year and 650,000 gallons of diesel fuel.