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Gas prices continue to rise

By By ANNA M. LEE Managing Editor
As gasoline prices edge closer and closer to $2 per gallon, consumers locally and throughout the state are taking a hit to the wallet.
A survey of six Brewton-area service stations on Friday showed prices for regular unleaded gasoline ranging from $1.68 to $1.81 per gallon -- in line with state and national average gas prices right now.
According to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report -- a survey of 60,000 gas retailers nationwide that is updated daily -- Alabama's average regular gas price on Friday was $1.705 per gallon, a record high. That price is 21 cents per gallon higher than the state's average on April 16, 2003.
Gas prices in Alabama and the nation have been rising steadily since the beginning of the year.
The national average regular unleaded gas price for Friday was $1.798 per gallon.
It doesn't seem, however, that rising prices are having much affect on how much gasoline consumers purchase.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that national demand for gasoline is about four percent higher than demand this time last year.
The Department of Energy predicts that gas prices will be "high and volatile" all summer.
While gas prices are always expected to rise in the summer time as demand rises, an early rise in gas prices this year can be attributed to high crude oil costs, strong gasoline demand, low gasoline inventories and more stringent gasoline specifications, according to the Department of Energy.
Wayne Lodge, manager of Mid Town Service Station in Brewton, counts on the steady industrial demand for gasoline in this area.
Mid Town Service Station's price for premium gasoline reached a high of $2 per gallon this Wednesday.
For daily updates on gas prices in Alabama or nationwide, visit AAA's Fuel Gauge Report at www.fuelgaugereport.com.