Today is Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Highs and lows of local fuel prices

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A check in Wilson County of the highest and lowest fuel prices on Thursday show a low price for regular gasoline of $3.64 per gallon to a high of $3.99 a gallon, both in Mt. Juliet.


Fuel prices for Lebanon and Mt. Juliet were obtained from TennesseeGasPrices.com. The website is operated by GasBuddy.com.


The website showed that in Lebanon at Citgo at 1140 Sparta Pike and Briskin Lane, RaceWay at 1137 Sparta Pike and Briskin Lane and Pilot at 921Murfreesboro Road and I-40 at Exit 238 (Highway 231 South) all had the lowest price for regular gasoline at $3.67 per gallon.


The highest price for regular gas in Lebanon, according to the website, was the Wilson County Farmers Co-op at 107 Babb Drive at $3.91 per gallon. Franklins Market at 3961 Lebanon Road at Prowell Lake Road and BP at 7790 Hwy. 109 North and Academy Road both had regular gas at $3.89.









Andy Appel of Beckley, W.Va., fills up his tank at a local gas station in Lebanon Thursday afternoon. Appel said in West Virginia the price for regular gas is about 20 cents higher, with averages of about $3.90 per gallon.






The lowest price for regular gasoline in Mt. Juliet on Thursday was $3.64 per gallon at Murphy Express at 355 Pleasant Grove Road and North Mt. Juliet Road. Second-lowest was BP at 126 N. Mt. Juliet Road and Pleasant Grove Road with $3.67, and third-lowest was Exxon at 125 N. Mt. Juliet Road and Pleasant Grove Road with $3.69.


The highest price in Mt. Juliet for regular gas was $3.99 at Fastrack at 1200 S. Mt. Juliet Road. Second-highest was $3.81 per gallon at Suggs Creek Market at 4429 Stewarts Ferry Pike and Corinth Road, and third-highest was Kroger at 4120 N. Mt. Juliet Road near Lebanon Road with $3.79, the website said.


Officials with AAA said they believe that if prices continue to inch up an average of 5 cents a week, the national average for a gallon of regular retail gasoline could hit $4 by the first week of April for the first time in history.


The factors causing gas prices to increase are the same ones weve been hearing and reading about for the last three months, however as prices inch up, more motorists are looking for someone or something to blame. Unfortunately, its the retailers that take the brunt of the blame since they are the most visible to motorists, and drivers see retailers as the one who puts $4 on the marquee and takes their hard-earned money, when in fact, retailer profit margins shrink the more gas prices increase, said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA.


Brady noted that retailer profit margins in Tennessee average 10 cents to the gallon, meaning the retailer will make less than $1.50 from the fill-up of a 15-gallon gas tank after paying credit card fees. The majority, 76 percent, of the cost of a gallon of gas goes to the cost of crude oil, with 12 percent going to taxes, 6 percent to refineries and the remaining 6 percent split between transportation costs and retailer profits.


Tennessee has a gas tax of 21.4 cents per gallon. Of that amount, 20 cents is the gasoline tax and 1.4 cents goes to a special petroleum fee. According to the website www.tdot.state.tn.us/gastax/, the states gas tax brings in $668.9 million per year. The tax is divided with 7.9 cents, or $246.8 million, going to cities and counties; about .7 cents, or $22.1 million, going to the states General Fund; and about 12.8 cents, or $400.1 million, going to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.


The price of a barrel of oil is still holding steady around $107 a barrel, but as seen in prior weeks, retail gas prices continue to rise, Brady said. Motorists can expect prices to increase well into spring; however year-to-date trends mirror that of 2011. If the trending continues like last year, we could see pump prices peak in May and then start to retreat.


Noting that gas prices have increased for the past 23 consecutive days, Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com, called it a troubling sign. Typically we expect such increases to occur more so in April. Were 31 cents per gallon ahead of our year-ago pace, and Im seriously contemplating revising my January forecasts upward having seen things race higher, faster than expected. If theres any ounce of good news for motorists, its that such high prices so quickly may mean prices will peak in April rather than in May.


In the meantime, those who live in the Lebanon and Mt. Juliet areas can also decrease their monthly gasoline bills if they work in Nashville by riding the Music City Star commuter train each day.


An increasing number of riders may be doing just that. Patricia Harris-Morehead, director of communications for the Regional Transportation Authority, told The Wilson Post in an article in the Friday, March 23, edition that ridership on the Music City Star had increased 14 percent for January 2012 from that of January 2011.


Monthly ridership in January 12 was 21,850 trips versus 19,211 trips in January 11, she said.


You can see what kind of an increase weve had, Harris-Morehead said.


She added that for fiscal year January 11 to fiscal year January 12, ridership increased 25.7 percent, almost 26 percent. Monthly trips in that same time frame rose from 128,542 to 161,594.


Its continuing to increase, which is a good thing, Harris-Morehead told The Post, adding she believes the public is realizing the benefits of public transit as gasoline prices continue to rise and traffic continues to grow on main roads leading to and from Nashville.


Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.

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