In Oct. 9-15 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Gas prices in Russell County finally dropped more than 30 cents this week to as low as $3.33, but the prices here are still higher than many surrounding communities' prices, according to several eyewitness reports.
Reports of regular unleaded prices in Lincoln County and the Lexington area are around $3.26 while prices in neighboring Casey County near the Russell County line and in the Danville area are $3.38. Monticello stations were also around the $3.54 mark this weekend, before Russell County prices fell below that amount Monday. Prices in Adair County were $3.45 early this week as well.
Tim Roy, a managing partner at Jax's Cool Convenience, said his business had not had any problems obtaining gas from their supplier and didn't expect that he would. Since Saturday, Roy said, prices at his station had dropped 20 cents to $3.47 as of Tuesday afternoon.
"That week after the hurricane, I think we all were allocated a certain amount," he said.
Last month gas prices rose near the $4 mark around the state, prompting panic and long lines at stations around Russell County as hurricanes Gustav and Ike pummeled the Gulf Coast and distributors rushed to keep tanks full.
Roy said he keeps abreast of the ongoing gasoline situation by keeping up with oil prices on the Internet and watching the news.
"I don't think people will stop buying gas," he said. "People have to have it."
He said where his business had taken the hardest hit was what he called "frivolous" items: chips, drinks and the like.
Over the past few weeks, the price of gas has slowly declined in the state, but prices have seemingly remained higher in Russell and neighboring Pulaski County than other counties.
"I hope (gas prices) continues to go down," Roy said. "Its sad when we're happy about $3.50 gas."
Russell Countians may think their price situation is bad but it could be far worse ... just look to the south as to why.
States that receive their fuel from shortage-hindered Southeast refineries can't seem to get enough gas to keep stations running. Many stations in the states of Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are reportedly out of gas and the few stations that do have fuel are met with long lines while people are willing to wait hours for fuel.
In conjunction with last month's surge in prices in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway launched an investigation into price gouging in this state.
"I am outraged by the voracious practices of price gouging we are seeing," Beshear said in statement last month.
National media outlets have reported that people are driving across the Tennessee state line into Kentucky to buy gas and have been doing so for several weeks.
With Russell County just a county away from the Tennessee border, there should be no surprise if one sees a panicked Tennessean fueling up at a station locally.
That scenario could be a contributing factor as to why gas prices here and elsewhere along the south border of the state are higher than in other parts of the state, several media outlets have indicated.
Most of the gasoline sold in parts of southeastern Kentucky, in east Tennessee and and southwest Virginia arrive by either of two pipeline systems in Alpharetta, Ga., Colonial Pipeline Co. operates more than 5,000 miles of pipeline and ships fuel to more than 250 terminals in 12 states from refineries in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Plantation Pipe Line Co. runs 3,000 miles of pipeline serving 130 terminals in eight states.
Area gasoline prices fell early this week and there could be more price cuts to come if the shortage in fuel subsides in the Southeast, analysts have agreed.
The American Automobile Association expects the national average price of gas to drop significantly later this fall, with a possible return to $3 per gallon, AAA representatives have said.
Nationally, gasoline prices fell 15 cents a gallon over the last week, dropping below an average $3.50 for the first time in six months, according to government statistics.
The national price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.48 a gallon, the cheapest since mid-April, according to the latest federal Energy Information Administration statistics. That price is around what most Russell County stations were at on Tuesday.