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Published: Tuesday, 4/5/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Gas prices zooming toward $4 mark

Local residents call for relief

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Rising gas prices have local residents calling for a variety of solutions, from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to offshore drilling, despite last year's disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Rising gas prices have local residents calling for a variety of solutions, from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to offshore drilling, despite last year's disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
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First there was Tunisia.

Then Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Libya joined the fray of Middle Eastern countries being upended by revolution.

Then gasoline prices hit $3.79 a gallon at most Toledo-area filling stations on Monday.

Cause and effect? Probably not, but turmoil in and around Persian Gulf oil producing countries is always a good reason to raise gas prices.

Japan's been hurting for all kinds of energy, not just nuclear, since being devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

And China -- now the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases -- continues its ascension toward superpower status, becoming a bigger player on the world oil market as it becomes more industrialized. Analysts began predicting higher gas prices worldwide as a result of China's rapid modernization, long before the latest round of political turmoil and natural disasters.

Yet in metro Toledo, there's still a reluctance to connect the dots.

Theories abound, but nobody has a clear answer as to why gas prices shot up 20 or 30 cents a gallon in recent days.

And nobody seems to care, so long as prices come back down.

According to the Web site toledogasprices.com, prices for regular gas have been between $3.52 and $3.85 a gallon.

Many area filling stations had regular unleaded going for $3.79 a gallon Monday afternoon. Some had gone over the $3.80-a-gallon mark on Sunday, then receded a tad.

Nobody brought up Monday's big news among financial analysts: Crude oil had jumped to its highest price in 2 1/2 years, most likely in response to violence in Libya. According to the Wall Street Journal, the sudden increase was "spurring global inflation worries."

Libya? Some people question if the sudden rise in gas prices is simply a result of more people on the road.

James Knight pumps gas at Speedway in Maumee. He moved to Port Clinton from Toledo partially because of gas prices. James Knight pumps gas at Speedway in Maumee. He moved to Port Clinton from Toledo partially because of gas prices.
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Several area school districts are on spring break this week. More people are expected on the road as Easter is celebrated and warmer weather arrives later this month.

"If they want the economy to grow, they'd better start taking gas prices down," Ted Shearer, 66, of Aurora, Ohio, said about politicians in general and no one in particular while filling up at a Speedway at Dussel Drive and Reynolds Road on Monday.

Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to drilling. Expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, he said.

And what about last year's historic BP oil spill in the Gulf?

"Stuff happens," Mr. Shearer said.

Toledo native James Knight, 28, said his decision to move to Port Clinton was partially in response to rising gas prices -- though his upcoming marriage to Ashley Irons, a 27-year-old schoolteacher, also had something to do with it.

Mr. Knight said his fiancee gave up part-time teaching gigs in the Cleveland area and focused on her teaching job in Port Clinton because gas became too expensive.

Mr. Knight said he didn't want to leave Toledo, but realized it made more financial sense to settle down in Port Clinton with her to save on gas too.

"I mean, I don't want to be out of Toledo. I love Toledo," Mr. Knight said while paying $3.99 a gallon for premium to gas up his Audi sedan.

He said he is able to reduce the number of trips he takes because his family owns a downtown pizzeria. "I don't need to be there every day," he said.

His response to rising gas prices?

"Drill in the U.S. and get it over with," Mr. Knight said.

Kyle Shepherd, 21, of Maumee, called the latest price-spike "ridiculous."

He said he spent $75 filling his Jeep Cherokee.

"There's not really much I can do about it," he said.

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com, or 419-724-6079.



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