Manassas Journal Messenger | Gas hikes just a drop in the bucket

Though area drivers have seen gas prices increase about four cents per gallon in the last week, the AAA Mid-Atlantic said things could be worse given the current high price of crude oil.

Bill Hawk and Jim Kilby of Manassas said they agree with AAA’s assessment.

“We race stock eliminator cars, NHRA, National Hot Rod Association, we race all over the United States,” Hawk said as he filled the tank on his boat in Woodbridge before heading to Leesylvania State Park.

“We do a lot of traveling and gas prices are high all over the place,” Hawk said.

“We go all up and down the East Coast racing cars,” said the 56-year-old Manassas man.

Duane Eiskant, who was with Hawk and Kilby, drives a truck for the NHRA and recently returned from a cross-country trip.

“He went to Canada, Washington and Utah,” Hawk said.

“Most of the stuff out there is probably 10 to 15 cents higher for regular gas,” said Eiskant, of Fredericksburg.

Hawk said drivers don’t have to go as far as Utah to see higher gas prices.

“We live up near Old Town Manassas. It’s at least three or four cents cheaper here than it is up there,” Hawk said.

“When we go racing and we go down to Florida and all, as soon as you get out of the state of Virginia, gas just goes sky-high,” Hawk said.

In a recent press release, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman, Deborah DeYoung said the higher prices reflect “continuing uncertainty in Iraq mixed with a shut-down of some U.S. refineries during Hurricane Claudette.”

Recent price increases ended the downward trend of up to 17 cents per gallon that began with the initial success in the war with Iraq.

On Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. crude oil imports exceeded the 1-million-barrels-per-day mark for the first time, DeYoung said in the release.

DeYoung said higher summer demand accounts for the increased imports.

Holiday travel by car on the Fourth of July was at the highest level in nine years, the release said.

According to the AAA, Americans use an extra 800,000 gallons of gas per day during the summer months.

“With record high imports, lower gas prices may be a pipe dream,” DeYoung said.

“A week like this, with prices leaping a penny a day, dashes hopes they’ll soon return to the more normal levels of last year,” DeYoung said.

Gas prices in Prince William County range between $1.39 and $1.45 per gallon for 87 octane.

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