Gasoline prices break record, $1.85 per gallon

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2004

Glenn Pickering puts gas in his car Wednesday on North Frontage Road after the cost of regular gas rose to $1.85 per gallon.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[5/6/04]Gasoline prices likely hit another record high in Vicksburg Wednesday, with retailers along Interstate 20 selling regular unleaded for $1.859 per gallon and prices at other stations headed upward.

The highest prices were at Texaco, 3060 Indiana Ave., and Chevron, Halls Ferry Road at North Frontage Road.

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Managers at other stores, though, were receiving word during the afternoon to raise their prices from the high $1.70s range. Some, including a BP Fast Lane across Indiana Avenue from Texaco, had done so by this morning.

The retail administration manager for Vicksburg gasoline distributor Hill City Oil, Benno Van Ryswyk, said the increases were being dictated by the companies that sell oil to companies like his.

“I’m too busy raising prices,” Van Ryswyk said when phoned at his office Wednesday afternoon. He was calling the retail outlets to tell them to adjust their pumps.

Hill City’s price for the gasoline it sells had increased by about 10 cents a gallon during the past two weeks, he said.

The average per-gallon price for the region that includes Vicksburg, the Gulf Coast region, was $1.728 Wednesday, up about 32.5 cents from the previous year, U.S. Department of Energy statistics show.

Nationwide, the comparable price was $1.844, up 33.1 cents from the previous year.

The $1.85 price being charged along North Frontage Road for brand-name fuel was the highest one residents could remember.

“It’s high,” said Patsy Byrd, who has lived in Vicksburg for 35 of the past 40 years, including the past 25 years. “It’s the highest it’s ever been, isn’t it?”

The executive director of the state’s petroleum marketers’ association, Jerry Wilkerson, said Wednesday’s price may be the highest on record, but not when inflation is considered.

“I think it’s probably the highest we have seen to date,” Wilkerson said. “However, if you go back to the mid-80s, 1983, 1984, gas was up to $1.25 or $1.30 a gallon.”

Adjusted for inflation, such prices would be in the mid-$2.30 price range today.

Byrd said she doesn’t shop for the lowest price on gasoline, preferring instead to stay with a brand-name company whose credit card she has.

“My daughter lives in California, and it’s been over $2 for ages,” Byrd said.

More-stringent environmental regulations make California’s prices generally the highest in the nation. The average price there was $2.115, up by 18.7 cents from the previous year.

U.S. gas prices were up an average of 3.2 cents this week from the week before.

Other prices along Interstate 20 through Vicksburg were lower. The per-gallon price posted at Pump & Save, 2080 S. Frontage Road, for example, was $1.75, 1.1 cents above the Gulf Coast regional average.