TUPELO – Gas prices are starting the year on the wrong foot for drivers.
To the surprise of many Northeast Mississippians, gas is more expensive at the pump today than at any point in 2009.
“I think it’s higher, but, honestly, I hadn’t noticed it,” said the Rev. Lewis Lockridge of Tupelo while he was getting gas Friday. “It’s been up there so long.”
But the price when he finished pumping did leave an impression.
“I just paid almost $50 and I wasn’t on empty,” Lockridge said.
According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Mississippi on Friday was $2.60. A year ago, it was $1.65.
Prices in Northeast Mississippi on Friday ranged from $2.49 in Sherman to $2.68 in Starkville, according to a Daily Journal survey.
The national average was $2.72, up from $1.76 a year ago.
According to The Associated Press, stockpiles of crude oil and gasoline are well above normal, but the falling dollar has pushed prices up.
Other drivers besides Lockridge were surprised to learn they were paying more for gas this week than at any point in 2009.
Holly McCoy of Saltillo was filling up her vehicle Friday and said she hadn’t paid much attention to the price. Yet, when gas was $3 and $4 per gallon in 2008, she cut back on her driving.
Tracie Floyd of Tupelo already has reduced her driving. Her 9-year-old daughter, Paten Floyd, is a competitive gymnast with meets around the region.
“We try to carpool with other families if possible,” Floyd said.
On Friday, she was making the trek to Biloxi, filling up her SUV at a Tupelo gas station.
“There’s really not an option when you have to do it,” Floyd said.
She tries to make things cheaper by paying attention to prices at gas stations and buying at ones where she gets member discounts.
Annie McCutcheon of Tupelo also said she is cutting back.
“I don’t drive any more than I have to – church, work, home and groceries,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll save money that way.”
Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal