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Rising gasoline prices fuel anger

Published: Sat, January 1, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By ed runyan



The experts didn't see last month’s gas-price spike coming, let alone customers at Conroy's Xpress on Logan Way in Liberty.

It left some customers a bit grumpy, said Nariman Judeh, the store”s manager.

“They yell at me every day. They can’t believe that prices can go up so much overnight,” she said. “They ask if it’s a conspiracy.”

Judeh said customers liked the $2.98 her store was charging last weekend, and lots of people filled up their tanks when it became apparent that her store had the lowest price.

“Some people were bringing their car, their wife’s car, their daughter’ s car and filling up all three,” she said.

But a few days later, when the price hit $3.19 a gallon, behaviors changed.

“A lot of people bought just a gallon or two, left, looking for a lower price, then came back” when they realized all the stations had raised their prices, she said.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that U.S. forecasters thought at the start of December that U.S. demand for gasoline would remain low all month. Dramatic price increases were not expected.

But consumption from mid-November to Dec. 17 averaged nearly 19.7 million barrels a day, the highest level since February 2009, when the price dropped to $40 per barrel, roughly a quarter of the price of Summer 2008 ($150 per barrel).

If gasoline use stays at current levels, its price will match amounts not seen since August 2008, at the start of the recession, AAA of Northeast Ohio says.

The Wall Street Journal and AAA agree that high demand, perhaps fueled by improvements in the national economy, are to blame for the price increase.

But Robert Mikula of Liberty and others interviewed at two area gasoline stations say they don't buy that explanation, even if they have to buy high-priced gasoline.

“Shady,” is how Robert Mikula of Liberty described the nature of gas-price increases.

“They know we need it, and that’s it,” he said of gas companies. “They know that we”ll pay $5 a gallon.”

“It’s ridiculous, but what are you going to do? You have to go to work,” said Tracy Barlett of Liberty. “You just have to hope it stops rising eventually. Everything goes up but our paychecks for those of us who are working. I can”t imagine for those who are not.”

Jim Banks of Liberty said the timing of this year”s gas-price increase was especially bad — during Christmas, when people are having trouble coming up with money for gifts.

Waseem Akhtar of Austintown, putting gas in his car at Ultimate Food Mart on Belmont Avenue in Youngstown, where the price was $3.13 on Wednesday, said he doesn't understand why gas demand is linked with higher prices.

“In my opinion, as a businessman, if you have less price, you have more customers,” he said. Akhtar runs a tax-return preparation business.

Akhtar said he thinks the government should subsidize prices during the holidays to keep them lower.

Art Beffert of Youngstown”s North Side said he just returned from a business trip that took him to Columbus last week, where the gas price was in the $2.60s. At the time, Youngstown's price was around $2.85. On Wednesday, he paid $3.13.

Beffert said his gasoline consumption is always about the same, no matter the price.

“Why are the gas companies gouging us? It kind of defeats the purpose of going to work,” he said.


1OSUYSUFAN(4 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I have always felt that the Youngstown area gas-station owners are all in a click to keep prices high here. I travel frequently around the state and Youngstown is always higher than other cities like Columbus, Akron, Cleveland. Youngstown is always ten to fifteen cents higher ...it's ridiculous ...and they say the Mafia is no longer here ....HA!

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2liberty(2 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

It's Bush's fault

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3Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

He (BUSH) and the newly elected GOP thugs are oil people or business people . What did you think was going to happen, They have the power now. They are in charge . They have two years to make up.

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4northsideperson(365 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

OSU: A good friend of mine used to work for one of the regional gas/convenience chains. Part of his job as an assistant manager was to do a "gas survey" once a shift - drive past the stations they compete with and note what they're charging. The competition probably did the same thing.

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5mischa1(4 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

It's not just Youngstown, it's anywhere you go. My husband drives to and from Cleveland everyday to work, and the prices are even higher there at times. It's not right and I don't understand it, but that's the way it is everywhere.

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6MLC75(626 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The gas prices rising will take it's toll on the American public and hurt our economy.The money that was budgeted for entertainment will now be spent on gas,that will have a spiral effect on restaurants.

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7piak(508 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

It might be that "Bush is at fault" and "greedy oil companies" aren't all that are causing this.

The falling value of our dollar-in a market where oil is around $90 a barrel will keep the price high.

The greater demand by China, parts of Africa, and the rest of built up society are causing the raise in prices.

If we don't tap into our own sources of shale oil and drill off shore, but let other nations drill off our shores, what do you expect? Cheaper gas prices aren't going to come back. Some economists are seeing $4.00/gallon prices by the end of 2011. When it gets to $5.00, it'll probably derail our economic "recovery", such as it is.

Blame anyone you want...there's economic reality out there and it's ugly. Who caused it? BOTH political parties and EQUALLY so.

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8haynie9999(25 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Our problem is we will fall back into recession, because we need gas for our every day needs. If its work or going shopping for food or what ever our needs are. I'm on Social Scurity, no raise for over two years, and that is a small cost of living raise when that happens. We still have to meet these rising cost.

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9Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Those are the same excuses that the Oil/GOP thugs have been using for years . Time to think up some new one.

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

LET ER RIP ! Soon green power prices will be compatible with fossil fuels . The liberals cherish the thought of energy affordable by only a select few .



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11casper77(136 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Right now , we are paying for the oil spill in the Gulf. You don't think BP is going to eat the cost? The law suits and fines ,plus other oil Companies know theres going to be regulations on Gulf drilling ,so why not nail the comsumers now.

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12howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe Americans will start to realize that we have had our heads in the sand for decades now. Peak oil is here to stay, its way past time to start conserving fuel and changing our travel habits. Every time you are at a car dealership ask which models get over 50MPG. in Europe every dealership is required to carry at least one new vehicle that gets over 50MPG. Are we so backwards of a nation that we can't do this as well?

Smaller cars, cleaner diesel is here so use it, hybrids for those who can afford them, and all electric vehicles for those who only drive locally; these are all ways we as consumers can fight the gas prices affect on our budgets.

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13georgejeanie(1050 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The idiot that thinks government should subsize gasline purchases during Christmas season should really jst ask local state and federal govts to eliminate the taxes on the product, problrm solved.

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14rejohns2(3 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

'I see a lot of people yelling for peace, and low gas prices but I have not heard of a plan for peace or low gas prices.
So, here's one plan.'

1) 'The US will apologize to the world for our 'interference' in their affairs, past & present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic, Hussein, and the rest of those 'good 'ole' boys', we will never 'interfere' again.

2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany , South Korea , the Middle East , and thePhilippines . They don't want us there.
We would station troops at our borders.
No one allowed sneaking through holes in the fence.

3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days, the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of whom or where they are. They're illegal!!!
France will welcome them.

4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days, unless given a special permit!!!! No one from a terrorist nation will be allowed in.. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

5) No foreign 'students' over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a 'D' and it's back home baby.

6) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness.
The caribou will have to cope for a while

7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)

8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not 'interfere.' They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.

9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island someplace. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school.. That way, no one can call us 'Ugly Americans' any longer.
The Language we speak is ENGLISH... learn it... or LEAVE...
Now, isn't that a winner of a plan?

'The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.'
She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?'

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15rejohns2(3 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Bolivian president cancels gasoline price increase

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16Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

BS Dodge

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17ytowhoh330(89 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Wow people still blaming Bush! Get over it you drank that dank koolaid! Your probably the same fools that kept Ryan in office.

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18rejohns2(3 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

your right it wont happen but hey its worth a try

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19Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Nancy Pelosi the queen of no drilling and high energy prices was easily re-elected . Her supporters should be happy that energy prices are once again spiraling out of control .


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20northsideperson(365 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

A friend of mine works a minimum-wage job, 40 hours a week. He is having to choose between eating and gasoline to get to the job. He is investigating food stamps.

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21Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

dimebag :

"Before the election Obama and the democrat controlled Congress said they were going to tax the obscenely high profits of the oil companies. What happened?"

They are trying to figure out how to up the gasoline tax without too much of a voter backlash .

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22TDW67(1 comment)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Well, looks like the practice of Big Oil gouging the public, especially those out of work, means 2008 all over again. And it stinks!
Anybody ever heard of "drive offs"?

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23southsidedave(5074 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

People in Europe have been paying between $4-$5 dollars per gallon for years

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24Empathetic(11 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

georgejeanie hit it right on target we pay more for the TAX on gas than we pay for the gas.....come onnn

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