Gas prices are rising throughout the country and the state, and drivers are starting to adjust their routines to find the cheapest prices and use less fuel.
The average cost for a gallon of regular gas rose 17 cents nationally, from $3.35 to $3.52, in the past week, according to AAA’s fuel gauge report. In New Jersey, the cost has risen 15 cents to $3.49, according to Gas Buddy. Prices were 7 cents cheaper in New Jersey one year ago.
At the Atlantic Gas Station in Galloway Township, a gallon of regular gas cost $3.47 Monday.
Jameel Muhammad, of Atlantic City, drives specifically to Atlantic because he said it’s cheaper.
“I stopped at the Sunoco down there and it was 3.99 for Super,” he said. “I always try here. I drive a lot for work, so I come like twice a week.”
He said the prices are hard on him. He works for the CRDA and has to pay for his own gas.
“They started creeping up about a week and a half ago,” he said. “I hope it goes down.”
Karen Stabler, of Galloway Township, has noticed the rising cost and said she makes changes to some of her routine.
“I do several errands, all in one morning,” she said. “I’ll do five different stores all in one morning instead of spreading it out, to save gas. If you go too far, you’re just using gas.”
Dianna Joa commutes an hour and 20 minutes to AtlantiCare from North Jersey.
“I hate it,” she said. “Everyday it’s something different. I try to put less money in the car, but I catch myself spending more that way.”
Joa said that Atlantic Gas is usually cheaper than her North Jersey station of choice, but right now it’s more expensive.
Janet Burroughs, of Hammonton, comes to Atlantic City for doctor’s appointments. She expects the prices to keep rising, and she said when it comes time to buy another car she will go electric.
“Every other day it goes up,” she said. “My husband pays $150 a week for his truck. I pay like $60. When it gets expensive we just go to work and back; we just stay home.”
The main reason for the higher national gas prices is an 11 percent increase in the price of oil since Mid-December. But analysts do not expect the recent surge to continue. Oil supplies are relatively high and gasoline demand, especially in the U.S., is weak.
On Monday, the federal Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. drivers spent 4 percent of their pre-tax income on gasoline last year, the second highest percentage in 30 years. The average U.S. household spent $2,912, according to EIA estimates.
Spending as a percentage of household income is still low when compared to the early 1980s, when the level surpassed 5 percent. Although travel per household has increased significantly since those years, vehicle efficiency has also risen significantly, reducing the amount of gasoline used per mile, the Energy Information Administration said.
At Garden State Fuels on the Black Horse Pike in West Atlantic City, a regular gallon of gas costs $3.49 Monday, cash or credit.
Naeem Khan, who works the pumps at the station, said that Hurricane Sandy has hurt business more than rising gas prices.
“For a year and a half the gas never really went below $3,” he said. “So people are used to it. But gas should be down. When the gas goes up really high, people drive less. But right now, it’s more about the storm than the cost of gas. Look at all these motels closed. People are not driving to Atlantic City. It’s the storm.”
Samuel Mozelle, of Pleasantville, pulled up to the station in an SUV, which he said makes the rising gas costs even worse. He doesn’t make any changes to his routine though. He just drives and hopes the prices will fall.
“That’s all you can do,” he said. “You spend more time trying to find cheaper gas. You’ll spend more money driving around looking for the pump.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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