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Gas prices have been on the rise for the past 33 days, according to AAA. Prices have increased 42 cents since January 1 and are now at the highest average price ever paid at the pump for this time of year. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Gas prices have been on the rise for the past 33 days, according to AAA. Prices have increased 42 cents since January 1 and are now at the highest average price ever paid at the pump for this time of year. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Gas prices up 42 cents since start of new year

Last Modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 7:26 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

Gas prices have been on the rise for the past 33 days, according to AAA. Prices have increased 42 cents since January 1 and are now at the highest average price ever paid at the pump for this time of year.

“It’s shocking for this time of year,” said Don Redman, AAA Public Affairs Specialist. “It is certainly unseasonably high.”

There are a number of factors driving up the cost.

“We have the normal annual ritual of changeover from a winter grade gas to a spring grade gas,” Redman said by phone Monday. “You’re beginning to see a diminishing supply and an increasing demand — that always drives up price.”

Instead of seeing the peak in April or May motorists will begin seeing at the end of February or March.

The national average for gasoline is $3.73 a gallon — up 43 cents from a month ago and up 16 cents from this time last year, according to AAA.

Investors are seeing that there may be an uptick in demand of a quicker transfer, Redman said. As refineries begin closing down for maintenance there won’t be any new product. Demand in the U.S. has been off, which may have led refineries to close down earlier.

“But we have a very healthy inventory of crude worldwide,” he said. Factors in China and even the Middle East play a role in the price of gas.

Redman predicts a national average spring peak price of between $3.60 and $3.90 a gallon.

The average price in Louisiana is $3.57 — up 36 cents from a month ago and up 7 cents from this time last year. Redman said Louisiana is typically 10 cents behind the national average. According to AAA, the states paying the most for gas are Hawaii, $4.28; California, $4.16; New York, $3.98; Connecticut, $3.96; and Illinois, $3.92.

And the Better Business Bureau is warning drivers to be wary of gas-saving claims that waste your money, rather than saving fuel.

“Before adding any fuel saving devices to your vehicle, you should check with your mechanic or dealer,” BBB President Carmen Million, said in a news release. “You may end up voiding your manufacturer’s warranty or causing serious engine problems by adding aftermarket devices to your engine.”

What you spend in gas is influenced by how you drive and what type of gas you use to fill up your vehicle, Million said.

The BBB recommends motorists keep engines tuned, while not letting the engine idle any longer than necessary. Million said driving more efficiently, while keeping your tires inflated and aligned helps as well. Drivers should anticipate driving conditions and should change oil and replace air filters regularly. And planning ahead and sharing vehicles always helps, Million said.

According to, the cheapest gas in Lake Charles is Conoco at $3.43 a gallon. In Sulphur, the cheapest gas is $3.47 a gallon at Circle K. In Westlake, gas costs $3.49 a gallon at Circle K. In Moss Bluff, the cheapest gas is $3.65 a gallon at Exxon.

Facebook Comments

American Press Facebook followers offered their opinions on the higher gas prices:

Roland Thomas: Personally, I am sick of it. Usually, they have some kind of lie or excuse for the higher gas prices — like there’s a storm in the Gulf, or they are changing the gas from summer to winter grade. I have worked in a gas refinery for 12 years now and still haven’t found the winter grade unit. I’m sick of the lies. And I’m sick of the high prices.

Jackie LeDoux Trouard: It’s shocking how quickly they jumped. I’ve started filling up after I use a quarter-to-half a tank of fuel and it still costs an arm and a leg.

Beth Hebert Shuler: My husband was considering driving to Vidor, Texas, to buy cheaper gasoline until I did the math for him. A 90-mile round trip would have only saved him $3.50 for a tank of gas. He changed his mind.

Louis Hoyt: We stay at home more (and) shop less.

Ken Brunot: (I) still have my 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf two years now, and it works great. (It) costs about $1.50 to travel 100 miles.

Donna Sargent: (I) got rid of my truck and had to reorganize how I buy groceries. We are on a fixed income, so you have to cut what you can to make your money last (until) next month.

Leah Moore: I don’t run the roads anymore.

Magan Brasher: What I don’t get is why gas prices are rising so much. Oil has stayed around the same cost, if not less, but gas has jumped between 30-50 cents in less than a week. I want to know how they have the right to do this and not get in any trouble.

Jamie Simon: I’ve wanted a new or a newer truck for a long time now. I got rid of my truck a few years back and bought a little Saturn because gas, at the time, was approaching $4 a gallon. I still drive the Saturn because gas is still too high, and I drive 20 miles a day for work. But I’m still wishing.

Amy Cargel Veuleman: I used the Kroger (card’s) 10-cent reward on gas. It certainly makes you plan all your errands in one trip. We also have been cutting back on how often we go out of town to visit family.

Connie Gordon: (It) cost $49 to fill up today.

Belinda Fletcher Grimes: I am not able to go see my grandchildren (who) live in Baton Rouge as much. It cost us $70 (to go) there and back this past Saturday. Basically, we only go on birthdays now. Also, I am very careful on how I plan my trips to the stores. If it isn’t a straight shot, then I don’t go.

John Zamora: (I’m) thinking about buying me a bike and peddling it to work.

Mary Coot Welch McInnis: First some analyst predicts $5 a gallon and guess what? Every station or company keeps jacking up prices to see who is closest. Pathetic. It is not the winter-to-summer switch. It is not a refinery closing (New Jersey doesn’t affect us)... Check out Exxon’s profits last year in March. The sad thing is we tend to take it out on the cashiers and clerks when all they are doing is following instructions.

Dawn Johnson: (the high prices are) killin’ me, I have a Suburban. I keep it local in Kinder, because driving to Lake Charles for anything sucks all my money up in the gas tank.

Frances Ann Seibert:“Sometimes my husband will take me to work and pick me up in the morning, which also gives us a little more time together. Plus, (We’re) not eating out quite as much or buying extras unless they are on sale.”

Arthur Guillory: I carpool as much as possible and also, I bike to work, shop places as much as I can until gas comes back down.

Theresa Moliere Burns: I haven’t made any changes. (I) refuse to let gas prices stop me from living; tomorrow is not promised. (I am) still living the same way I was when gas was cheaper. I was blessed with a vehicle, and I believe that the same God that blessed me with it will provide for me to fill it up. It costs a little over $100 to fill it up. (I am) packing my bags for a road trip now.

Lacie Soileau Ramirez: We live in Westlake, so everything is pretty close. But if we are needing something from Lake Charles, we make sure we get everything done in one trip.

Jaimi Hansen: (I am) staying home as much as possible.

Felix Navejar: I got a Sam’s card (for) cheaper gas.

Theophile A Combre: Reason: Congress is talking about getting rid of their loopholes.

Scout Barrilleaux Semmes: We do not visit family as much even though they are in the same state.

Barbara Impastato McCain: (It) could hurt economy. (I) don’t shop near as much as used to.

Lindsay Lunn: (I) stay home more.

Julie Harpin Sorrell: I have had various SUVs since 1995. I just bought a Nissan Versa. And I love it.

Edie R. Gauthreaux: It sure is hard finding work and putting in applications when you have no money coming in and unemployment is good for only 26 weeks.

Bryan Ballard: I won’t make as many trips to Toledo Bend, for sure or any unnecessary road trips.

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