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Will Gas Prices Stabilize Soon?

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hang onto your wallets — gasoline prices are inching ever so close to $4 a gallon. AAA of Minnesota reports that as of April 24, the average price for unleaded fuel in the Twin Cities is hovering around $3.94 a gallon. That’s just a nickel shy of the all-time record average set back in 2008.

“No, I don’t see it going down, not the way everybody’s talking,” said Carver County farmer Henry Hammers.

But whether you’re a farmer doing spring fieldwork or a motorist driving the metro freeways, the recent rise at the pump is taking a larger part of your paycheck.

Mike Boyd was getting gas at a Bobby & Steve’s station in Minneapolis, but he wasn’t filling up.

“The price is so high and this is a company van and we got a budget, just gotta cut back,” said Boyd.

So Boyd said he’s been consolidating trips around town and canceling visits with family and friends. Unfortunately, that’s a choice farmers don’t have this time of year.

“A tank full was $900 and last year it was probably $450,” said farmer Hammers.

Hammers’ tractors, like all farmers, burn the more expensive diesel fuel. He will need to fill that 250-gallon bulk tank four more time to get his crops planted. Next fall’s harvest will require another four full tanks.

“And for a small guy like me, I don’t make a lot of profit off the 200 acres to begin with so it cuts into it pretty good for me too,” he said.

The price at the pump is up 33 percent from a year ago. Minneapolis AAA is seeing a six-and-a-half percent jump in the number of calls for roadside fuel.

“So they’re trying to get as far as they can before having to file up again. They’re running on fumes and just not making it to the next service station,” said AAA’s Jennifer Brownlee.

Continued unrest and uncertainty in the Middle East, combined with rising demand for oil in developing nations have led to the rising prices. How high oil prices may climb in the near future is the subject of much discussion.

However, there is some evidence the oil rollercoaster is about to stabilize. That’s according Jerry Fruin, an applied economics professor at the University of Minnesota.

“You might see a little higher in the summer, but this idea of $5 a gallon gas, I reject completely,” he said.

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