Gas prices depend on many factors

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August 28, 2006

Gas prices always seem to be changing...and that means planning trips and balancing your budget can be hard.

Prices here are slightly lower than the average for the Southeast, which is roughly $2.93 a gallon.

That's eight cents cheaper than last week.

But that number can change at any second.

Gas prices can go up and down multiple times throughout the day. And lots of things, from the world economy to local demand, weather conditions, and even local taxes can affect how much you pay for gas.

The CSRA is paying an average of $2.60 for gas, down about 10 cents from last week, but still up from the $1.50 per gallon drivers like Neil Wilson paid back in 2004.

"Once upon a sandwich we paid thirty dollars. Now it's sixty," Neil says.

Greg's Gas Plus manager Angela Hawkins says it's hard to predict what the numbers will do.

"It varies," she says. "Sometime it doesn't change at all...sometimes it's five or six times a day."

The US gets the majority of its crude oil from other countries. But we want more than they can make, and that means prices could continue to climb.

"Oh lord, I remember when it was 65 cents a gallon," recalls driver Zack Mitchell.

"They've gone up a lot of course, that's to be expected," says driver Gloria Wise.

To fill up the tank of our news jeep in North Augusta, it would cost around $30. Over in Augusta, one county over, we'd spend about $35. One possible reason for the difference is local taxes.

Nationwide, the South pays the least amount in taxes, $0.38. The West pays the highest, $0.56.

Locally, South Carolina pays $0.35, and Georgia pays $0.44.

Weather conditions and the success of the individual store can also affect prices.

"It means we got to drive a little less...and these big cars use up an awful lot of gas," says Neil.

As prices continue to change, drivers like Neil Wilson never know what they're going to spend at the pump.

The American Petroleum Institute shows the world economy is getting stronger. Now, other countries, like India and China, need more gasoline.

That means mid-grade and premium are more in demand than they used to be.

Today, the most expensive premium we saw was about $3.00 in Augusta.