The ups and downs of gas prices
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org July 2, 2012 11:22PM
Alan Ortiz prepares to fill up at an Indianapolis Blvd. station in East Chicago Monday July 2, 2012. Ortiz says he regularly drives from his home in south Chicago to the station when prices are as low as they were Monday. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
On The road
AAA estimates that 42.3 million Americans are expected to head out of town for the July 4 holiday, with most opting to drive. That number is an increase of 4.9 percent from 2011.
Updated: July 2, 2012 11:22PM
Northwest Indiana gas prices rose between 30 and 40 cents a gallon Monday afternoon in advance of the July 4 holiday, leaving many drivers scratching their heads.
In the last month, fuel prices had dropped between 20 and 30 cents as the price of a barrel of crude oil plunged. AAA Indiana spokesman Greg Seiter said typically there is a price increase around a holiday as gas stations experience a short-term dramatic increase in demand, since more motorists head out of town.
“There are a number of variables that affect the price, but crude oil going down is major contributor,” Seiter said. “In the summer months, prices tend to stabilize, and the demand for gas and petroleum is down.”
In Lake County, June fuel prices averaged $3.65 per gallon, and $3.64 per gallon in Porter County.
Crown Point resident Ron Williams was filling up his tank at the Speedway at 93rd Avenue and Broadway, which charged $3.59 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline. He was kicking himself for not getting gas Monday morning before prices spiked.
“There’s no apparent reason for the increase,” he said. “It goes up by 30 or 40 cents at one time, and it will take eight weeks to go down a nickel. It’s all based on the oil companies manipulating the economy and bilking customers.”
Stan Valensky was headed home from work and was expecting to see prices around $3.19.
“I was just shocked,” Valensky said. “Oil prices are just as volatile as the stock market. But a good side effect of high prices is more Americans are buying fuel efficient vehicles.”
Fuel prices are posted online at www.fuelgaugereport.com, which updates prices daily for unleaded, diesel and E85 blends of fuel.