Last week, Floyd’s Express Mart broke the $4 a gallon line item for regular gas as the prices raise daily in our area. The sign outside the gas station and mini-mart on Main Street showed the cost of a gallon of non-branded gas at $4.05.99. Circle K Exxon still had their regular price at $3.99 through at least Sunday afternoon.
On a motorcycle ride that ran through Roanoke, then Buchanan, Vinton, Smith Mountain Lake, Burnt Chimney and Rocky Mount, ride partner and I Nick Piazza found prices on regular ranging from $3.55 to $4.65, a spread of more than a dollar.
In February, economists were predicted $5 a gallon gas by summer. At the rate, it may reach that level in March, perhaps before the arrival of Spring.
Trying to find affordable gasoline is more and more difficult, but not yet impossible.
In Roanoke week, I found gas for $3.26 a gallon (with a club discount) at a Kroger station on highway 419 in the county near Salem. A BP gas station in Christiansburg priced their gas at $3.35 a gallon for regular — the same time when the town of Floyd’s two stations were getting $3.85 for “independent” gas.
Most motorcycles, including my 13-year-old Harley, burn premium gas, where the price is nearing or over $5 a gallon. Looks like I will depend on Amy’s Can-Am, which burns regular fuel, for my bike riding for the time being. It gets 45 miles per gallon.
Oil prices surged to a 14-year high, while gasoline prices jumped past $4 a gallon to near a national record, as the U.S. and its allies discuss potential restrictions on the purchase of oil from Russia after the country invaded Ukraine.
Russian oil has so far been spared Western sanctions, at least directly, in an effort to minimize economic fallout in the U.S. and Europe.
But the prospect of that changing briefly sent the price of Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, above $130 per barrel, its highest since 2008. Brent was trading at around $124 a barrel in late morning trade.
The spike in energy prices comes as consumers in the U.S. are facing the highest inflation in decades. Gasoline prices had already been rising sharply before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as demand rebounded from a slump early in the pandemic and supplies were slow to catch up.
A trip to the grocery store shows rapidly escalating prices, coupled with more intense showing for generic brands and lower-cost food choices.
The American Automobile Association tells us that gas prices at just a nickel short of an all-time high last set in 2008. Actually, if you adjust for inflation, gas now costs the equivalent of $5.37 a gallon.
“I seen diesel last week for $4.79, and it was a sticker shock for sure,” Monte Wiederhold, an independent trucker based in Lebanon, Ohio, told NPR. He added that he typically buys 170 to 200 gallons at a time, and said he’s going to have to raise the $750 limit on his fuel card.
“We’re being squeezed,” he said. “If you adjust it, and then it takes a big jump, you run that week to where you don’t recover.”
For too many, that time may have already arrived.