Hub City Gas Prices Soar - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/19/03

Hub City Gas Prices Soar

Much like the thermometer, gas prices are climbing. In Lubbock, the price of regular unleaded has gone up 20 cents in the past month. And experts say the trend is here to stay, at least for a while.

The price here at the pump, about a $1.59 per gallon for regular unleaded in Lubbock. Fluctuating gas prices are nothing new, but they are a perpetual frustration.

"Just up and down up and down," says one Lubbock motorist.

Lubbock's patience at the pump is running on empty these days. "At this price, you can't afford to go too far."

"I travel a lot, and it gets expensive," says another motorist.

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Late summer prices are soaring, and experts warn they'll continue to climb, with a possible .10 cent spike Labor Day weekend. Texas Tech Chemical Engineer Dr. Harry Parker compares the short-term outlook to a good country dance. The Texas two-step. "It'll probably do two steps forward and one back, if I were making a prediction," says Parker.

So, why the hike? In the upper midwest and northeast, the blackout's partially to blame. In Phoenix, a broken pipeline has triggered anxiety among motorists and long lines at the pumps. But neither affect our pump prices. "That has zero to do with us in Lubbock, Texas," says Parker. Rather, our prices are up due to better than expected weather, more travel and a slightly improving economy. The law of supply and demand.

Dr. Parker says long term, we should see prices decline after summer, but higher prices will inevitably be back.

As for saving money while prices are high, Parker suggests driving slower. Dropping your highway speed from 70 to 67, just 3 miles per hour, can save you about ten cents a gallon. It's the proven theory that fuel mileage is roughly proportional to your velocity squared.

Also, for most cars, regular unleaded is more than satisfactory. Excess octane is often wasted octane.

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