Officials: Brace for volatile gas prices

Photo by Catherine Crane

Photo by Catherine Crane

ALBANY, Ga. -- Officials with the American Automobile Association say that volatile retail gas prices will continue to fluctuate despite the fact that there has been little disruption in oil supplies in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, in Albany, Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul said that he is conferring with officials with the Georgia Sheriffs' Association and others on the best practice for monitoring price gouging.

In its weekly fuel briefing, AAA officials say that despite the fact that OPEC has been able to make up the estimated loss of 1 million barrels of crude oil per day that the unrest in Libya has cut from its supply, prices will continue to rise on fears that tensions will spread in the Middle East.

"Oil and retail gas prices are forecast to rise again this week as the unrest continues in the Mideast," said Jessica Brady, spokesperson, AAA Auto Club South. "It's uncertain how the turn of events in the Mideast will unfold and therefore hard to forecast how retail gas prices will be affected; whether they will continue to rise or if consumers can expect a break anytime soon."

According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of gasoline in Georgia was up to $3.30 per gallon for unleaded regular gasoline, which was up by almost 10 cents per gallon from Thursday. Gas in Albany ranged from $3.36 a gallon to $3.41 at self-serve stations.

The average national price for gas is $3.36 per gallon.

Hawaii remains the state with the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline at $3.77 per gallon and diesel that topped the $4 mark, while Montana had the lowest at $3.04 for regular unleaded.

Sproul said Monday that he had made some inquiries about monitoring stations for possible gas gouging, something his office hasn't had to do since prices spiked when a hurricane damaged gas pipelines from the Gulf caused prices to spike to over $4 a gallon.