Coping with #036;3-a-gallon gas

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 2, 2005

As Suffolkians have watched gas prices soar past the $3 mark in some places in recent days, some are already making plans for lifestyle changes.

Lori Lawrence said Thursday she’s going to start thinking twice about conserving gas, &uot;something I’ve never before.&uot;

&uot;My gas budget has doubled,&uot; Lawrence said, &uot;and as a single, working mom, my life is definitely going to be changed. Some of our family’s treats are going to be cut out.&uot;

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Lawrence wasn’t alone. Karen Witherspoon drives 25 miles one-way to work each day at a school in the South Norfolk section of Chesapeake.

&uot;I’ve been filling up both my vehicles as much as possible the last few days, because prices are just going to continue to go up,&uot; Witherspoon said Thursday while pumping gas at a station on North Main Street.

She said beginning today, she was driving her second vehicle until its gas was used up, and then she would go back to using her main car. She said if anyone she worked with lived near her, she’d gladly carpool to work.

The confluence of foreign affairs and Hurricane Katrina have brought drastically higher gas prices, and uncertainty about what will happen in the near future.

A brief drive around Suffolk Thursday afternoon showed a range of regular unleaded prices from $2.89 to $3.09 per gallon.

According to AAA, the nationwide average is currently $2.68 per gallon. Just the day before, it was $2.62, and a month prior, $2.28.

In Virginia, AAA’s Web site shows a $2.62 average today; up from $2.55 a week ago, and $2.22 a month ago.

&uot;One hundred percent of the last week’s increases are because of the hurricane,&uot; said David Holland, president of Southern Oil Company. &uot;We’re getting price increases the last few days faster than we can turn around.&uot;

Holland encouraged the public not too panic, buying gas only when they need it because of uncertain supplies.

&uot;They are buying more gas than we are used to selling, and product is very tight right now,&uot; he said, noting that Wednesday was the highest one-days sales that his company has experienced.&uot;

Meanwhile, people are going to have roll with the punches where prices are concerned. Witherspoon has been planning a trip to Philadelphia and the recent gas price surge has called her to rethink her plans. She found that round-trip tickets on Amtrak were going to save her money versus the cost of driving up and back.

&uot;The only good thing is this is getting people talking while standing in gas lines,&uot; said Lawrence.