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It could be a lot worse

It could be a lot worse. Rather than paying almost $4 per gallon of gasoline, residents of Suffolk could be forced to pay $5 and more as others across our country have done of late or even currently continue to pay.

It’s been nearly a week since Hurricane Ike pounded the Gulf Coast. But motorists around the country are still experiencing spiking gas costs created by the temporary shutdown of the oil refineries that provide an estimated 25 percent of the nation’s fuel.

“We are getting gas back in the pipeline,” said Georjeane Blumling, spokeswoman for AAA of Tidewater in Friday’s News-Herald. “But we’re looking at potentially another 10 days to two weeks before the supplies are back to where they were prior to Ike.

When it comes to prices, local fuel suppliers and distributors say they too are feeling the pinch of the volatile market – though on a much larger scale. As the available fuel supply has begun to dwindle, their suppliers have been reducing the amount of gasoline they receive. That in turns affects the motorists, driving up our costs.

Nonetheless, Hampton Roads is faring much better than southwestern Virginia, where a significant number of stations are running out of fuel. That region is served entirely by pipeline, whereas Hampton Roads’ market has at least part of its fuel sources brought into the ports by barge.

Residents need to be careful about how and where they spend their fuel. This is the time as well to shop prior to buying gasoline. Sometimes driving down the street will actually save you money that would otherwise go in the gas tank.