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'It's just crazy': Gainesville drivers feeling the pain at the pump
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Kayla Jones visits the Chevron gas station on EE Butler Parkway Thursday, March 10, 2022, to buy gas. Jones said it was her first time buying gas since the prices skyrocketed. - photo by Scott Rogers


“It’s just crazy.” 

“I never thought we’d get to this.”

People are feeling the pain at the pump, with gas prices surging to their highest marks ever recorded, according to AAA data. 

“It’s crazy how gas is already at $4,” said Christina Martin while filling up her minivan Thursday. If it goes up much higher, “We’re going to be walking, or we’re going to have to buy bikes,” she said laughing. 

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Chris Charles visits the Chevron gas station on EE Butler Parkway Thursday, March 10, 2022, to buy gas. - photo by Scott Rogers

The trend is fueled by creeping increases in crude oil prices over recent months and uncertainty caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine over the last two weeks, said Montrae Waiters, a spokesperson for AAA. The trend is likely to continue, and we likely haven’t seen the full effects of recent economic sanctions, Waiters said. “It’s a fluid situation,” she said. 

Gainesville is about even with the state average for gas prices at $4.28 per gallon as of Friday, March 11. Gainesville prices are up $0.60 from a week ago and up a full dollar compared to Feb. 11. A year ago, when demand was depressed by the pandemic, gas prices were $2.60 on average. 

Chalise Sarazen, a realtor in Gwinnett County, said she’s been saving by filling her car with regular (87) gas even though her car uses premium (89). 

“Don’t tell BMW,” Sarazen said. 

She’s been trying to plan her home showings to be as fuel efficient as possible, she said, so she isn’t driving extra miles. It used to take her $50 to fill up her car, but now $25 doesn’t even fill her car a quarter of a tank.  “Today was a big house day,” she said. 

Leigh Carver, who works at a Gainesville Kroger, said she tries to use her car as little as possible and only puts in about $10 at a time. 

“It’s like, first COVID, now this, what next? Rodents raining from the sky?” Carver said. “Like what can go wrong?”

Some drivers are trying to take fewer trips where they can. Kayla Jones said she lives with a few roommates and has been trying to mooch rides lately. 

“We’re trying to divide up the trips,” Jones said. 

And Martin said she’s only going out when she really needs to. 

“Go home; go to work, that’s it,” she said. “If we gotta go to the store, we go.”

For Chris Charles, who lives near Norcross, rising gas prices were a sign that the United States should become more self-reliant. 

“Gas prices are way too expensive,” Charles said. “If we’re relying on another country’s oil and fuel and energy that’s a big issue and a big deal.”

Some politicians are seeking to provide temporary relief. 

Both Gov. Brian Kemp and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock have recently suggested temporarily lifting state and federal gas taxes to ease the burden on their constituents. Georgia's gasoline price includes a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. A number of cities and counties also charge taxes. Federal taxes on diesel fuel are 24.4 cents per gallon, while Georgia's tax on diesel is 32.6 cents per gallon.

Kemp’s proposal would lift the tax through the end of May, while Warnock has suggested going through the end of 2022.

But until that temporary relief or a change overseas, drivers will continue feeling the inflation. 

“I mean, I don’t love it. It’s not the most fun thing ever,” Jones said. 

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Leigh Carver pumps gas Thursday, March 10, 2022, at the Chevron on EE Butler Parkway. - photo by Scott Rogers