Sparta gas prices higher than the rest of Central Georgia
AAA says gas prices are continuing to plunge in a 50-day streak, but that’s not the case in Sparta.
Gas there is north of $2.70, while prices in other areas in Central Georgia are at least 40-50 cents lower.
$2.73, $2.74, $2.75 -- those are the gas prices that line Broad Street in Sparta. Some residents like Belinda Lamar say those prices are too high.
“Compared to the prices out of town, these gas prices are really too high," Lamar said,
And resident Will Minter agrees.
“It’s highway robbery, obviously," Minter said. "It’s hard to drive all the way to Milledgeville to get competitive prices or anywhere else, so they’ve got a captive audience.”
But some people in Sparta say they’ve been driving all the way to Milledgeville to fill up because it’s a 40-50 cent difference per gallon.
According to gasbuddy.com, 2 of the closest towns to Sparta, Milledgeville and Sandersville, the average price for gas there is $2.35. Gas in Macon averages out to $2.26.
Georgia College and State University Economics Professor Chris Clark says gas prices are determined by supply and demand.
“If demand rises, price goes up. If demand falls, price goes down. If supply increases, price falls. If supply decreases, price goes up," Clark said.
But Clark says because Sparta is a smaller community, gas station owners don’t have much competition.
“If I know I have very few competitors in the area, I can raise my prices and take advantage of the people that live there," Clark said.
And that’s exactly how Lamar and Minter say they feel. If the prices would level out, they say they’ll be satisfied.
“I’m hoping these prices will go down to a reasonable so all of us can afford to go to places we need to go be at,” Lamar said.
“I hope the state attorney general or whoever, the Governor, or those who are running for office will come to this town and see what’s going on,"Minter said. "It’s highway robbery.”
The state ranks Hancock as Georgia's poorest county, based on income and unemployment.