Retail gas prices jumped another 10 cents across the Southeast last week and the upward trend is not expected to slow down anytime soon. If price trends follow those of 2011 and 2012, motorists could see gas prices rise until mid-September. One factor that has the market on edge and the potential to drive gas prices even higher is peak hurricane season, which is right around the corner. The mere threat of a storm can cause wholesale prices to spike. "Motorists need to prepare themselves for increased pump prices," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "We're likely to see a lot more volatility in the market as peak hurricane season approaches. The average cost for a gallon of gas in the Southeast could climb upwards of $3.70 to $3.80, or higher if a storm disrupts refineries along the coast or in the Gulf of Mexico."
The ever increasing price of gas has hit Southwest Georgians hard, with many having to make sacrifices in order to cover to handle the higher costs.
Father of three Darrell Norris says it hurts him to not be able to take his children on vacation and instead keep them in the house to watch movies. Norris says he's limited by the price of gas because he lives paycheck to paycheck and can't afford to driver to places other than work.
Other motorists agree and say they, too feel trapped by the situation. Jonathan Capers says he's not sure how he'll handle the increase when it comes, but feels like he can't go places anymore because it costs too much.
One person that is still traveling is Florida resident Teresa Wiley, who says she's able to still drive places because she invested in a car that gets 36 miles per gallon. Wiley understands buying a car is an investment and says not everyone is in a position make that purchase so she can understand why people are feeling trapped.
When asked if there are drastic measures people are willing to take in order to put down the pump, drivers say they wouldn't say no to taking public transportation in order to stop paying for gas. However, Wiley says it's more difficult in farm towns that don't have mass transit like our larger cities.
Drivers say while their freedom is limited by the numbers, they don't have many other choices than to continue making cuts in other areas of their lifestyle and pay the price.
CURRENT AND PAST PRICE AVERAGES Regular Unleaded Gasoline Current Week Ago Month Ago Year AgoNational: $3.671 $3.600 $3.592 $3.459Florida: $3.642 $3.537 $3.525 $3.385Georgia: $3.544 $3.452 $3.462 $3.351Tennessee: $3.448 $3.350 $3.349 $3.214