After months of declines, relief at the pump is over.
After falling for months, AAA Texas says the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline actually rose two cents in San Antonio this week. The state average is up seven cents a gallon.
"Yikes," says Steve at a local Valero station. The increase puts the local average price for a gallon of regular unleaded at $3.16. That leaves Steve worried about getting around town in his Ford cargo van. "$3.80 right there will get me back to the house," he says as he finishes up.
The beginning of what could be another long string of price increases already has him thinking about what he might have to do if prices return to where they were just a few months back, lingering close to that four dollar mark. He'll have to "get a new car," he says. "Gas is just ridiculous in this thing."
Those sentiments were echoed by Paul Bueno. He watched the meter tick up rapidly as he topped off the tank of his Chevy Silverado, lifting the hose into the air to make sure he got every last drop. "I ain't got the time or the money to be going here and everywhere with these gas prices," Bueno says, "especially when I drive a V8."
Bueno believes the price increase has everything to do with politics, but AAA Texas notes a few other contributing factors. They include recent jumps in the price for crude oil and an increased demand for gasoline. After months of declining demand, AAA Texas says prices are responding to the dramatic increase in drivers taking advantage of current prices for road trips during the Memorial Day and July 4th holidays.
Driving around in his much more fuel efficient Honda Civic, Juan was just starting to enjoy those lower prices. "It allows us to travel more freely," he says. "Instead of having to pair up and go together with others, I can actually take my own car now."
Juan doesn't know how long he'll be able to hold onto that independence if this is just the first of what could be a long string of gas price increases in the months ahead. In San Antonio, those prices are still $0.32 lower than what we saw this time last year, but it's anybody's guess how high they could rise if conditions start changing. "It is what it is," he says. "We just have to deal with it."