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Gas prices on the rise; $4 per gallon possible by summer
W Enmark gas
The price of a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.04 at the Enmark station on Northside Drive. Gas recently crept above $3 per gallon at most area gas stations. - photo by RANDY MORTON/Staff

      An improving economy may partially be at fault for the recent rapid rise in gas prices, which could increase by as much as $1 come summer, one expert said. co-founder Jason Toews said he doesn't believe gas prices will reach $5 in 2011, but may indeed rise to $4 a gallon by the summer. Toews said Tuesday the price of gasoline is rising across the nation, and blames a budding economy.
      GasBuddy is a national website that gathers input on gas prices from people in specific cities and areas across the country and then posts the lowest prices from a particular area. GasBuddy can be accessed on
      He also said a weak U.S. dollar, which leads to higher crude oil prices, is at fault as well. Oil producers need more U.S. dollars to balance out their costs and make a profit, he said.
      "Gas prices are on the rise all over the place," he said. "We typically see them at the lowest this time of year, and it concerns me that this is setting us up for higher prices for the spring and summer season."
      The lowest gas price in the Statesboro area Tuesday was at Po Jo's Gas -n-Go at the intersection of Burkhalter Road and U.S .80-East; $2.96 per gallon.
      Toews said the average price of gasoline across the nation rose about a penny Tuesday. The average in Georgia Tuesday was $2.98.3, he said. Most Statesboro stations advertised gasoline Tuesday at $3 or more per gallon for regular gasoline.
      According to Internet website, average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have risen 8.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.96 per gallon Monday. This compares with the national average that has increased 4.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.03 a gallon.
      A year ago, gasoline was 52 cents cheaper in Georgia, according to the website. Prices are almost 28 cents higher than barely a month ago.

      So, even if the economy seems to be on the mend and people "are feeling better about the economy," rising gas prices are expected to put a crunch on the wallets, Toews said.
      This week between Christmas and New Year's Day is "typically one of the cheapest weeks of the year," he said.
      But the high prices today are "not good" when it comes to expecting lower prices, he said. "Expect to see prices going up."
      He said it's possible gas will hit $5 per gallon sometime in 2012.
      Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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