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Gas prices creeping up as holiday approaches
Rafael Munoz of Gainesville fills up his tank Monday at the Shell gas station on E.E. Butler Parkway. The price of gasoline has recently increased despite the decrease in the price of oil by the barrel. - photo by SARA GUEVARA
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The price of gasoline in Georgia has climbed 29 cents a gallon since May 1, surpassing the national average price surge of 25 cents during the same time.

AAA Auto Club South Spokesman Gregg Laskoski said there are a number of factors that have caused the higher prices.

The national average price of $2.30 per gallon has already exceeded the peak price of $2.25 per gallon that the U.S. Department of Energy projected in February, according to AAA Auto Club South.

Consumer travel is expected to be up this summer beginning with a projected 1.5 percent increase in Memorial Weekend travel.

Laskoski said Memorial Day travel may show signs that the economy is recovering.

“Memorial Weekend travel is really a harbinger of the entire summer travel season,” Laskoski said. “If the consumer perception is that we are starting to see a degree of economic recovery, then it’s more likely that people who may have postponed travel in the past are going to be more likely to want to get out and travel this year.”

Laskoski said when leisure travel is up, gasoline prices tend to follow the direction of consumer demand.

According to a Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers, consumer confidence rose in early May as a majority of consumers expressed a belief that the economy is in its final stages of contraction.

 “Despite the 4 percent drop in crude oil this past week, the perception that economic recovery is pending is also helping to keep both oil and gasoline prices moving higher for the short term,” Laskoski said.

Additionally, OPEC is scheduled to meet May 28 and its members may announce a reduction in a move to tighten supply and place additional pressure on crude oil pricing.

“When OPEC makes these statements, I think they know that any public statement they make has the potential to create short term rallies or add momentum to the price of crude oil,” Laskoski said.

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