MACON, Ga. — If you suspect gas prices have been rising lately, you may be onto something. Gas prices are increasing as Hurricane Ian approaches.
13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha tell us more about why that may be happening, and spoke to some folks at the pumps about what they've seen and what they're concerned about as we get closer to the storm hitting.
“It’s gone up a lot,” Willie Vance says.
Vance says he lives in Macon but commutes to Atlanta for work. He says he was at this particular gas station on Sardis Church Road a week ago and the price of gas was $2.77.
“It’s done gone up to $3.09, or something like that,” he explains. “That’s the way it’s probably going to head and that’s wrong. The price– the prices are already high enough– they don’t need to hike up the prices.”
Matt Willard is a student at Central Georgia Technical College.
"I've noticed around a 20 or 30 cent increase,” he says.
Willard says he's sad to see gas prices rise above $3 again, but he can't do anything about it.
"Yeah, it's a potential concern, but if it's rising for a storm hopefully that would just be a temporary thing if anything,” Willard says.
Mercer Economics Professor, Allen Lynch would say Willard is correct, and it's because of supply and demand.
"So on the supply side, the crude oil that goes to the refineries is going to be more expensive, which will cause gas prices to go up, and it may just be physically difficult to get gasoline from the tankers to the gas stations,” Lynch explains.
Lynch says on the demand side, people rushing to fill up their tanks with gas before Ian hits also makes the price rise. However, he says this isn't all bad news.
"If we allow the price to rise, it'll help to resolve the situation more quickly.”
Lynch means that as gas prices rise, consumers will use less which will help lower the price, but also, "These elevated prices create an incentive for suppliers to get everything back online quickly because they can seize these higher prices,” he adds. “Then once they get everything back online, the supply is increased and the problem is alleviated.”
AAA’s Montrae Waiters says the price of gas in Macon has gone up only one cent overnight.
"We do anticipate to continue to see this uptick until at least the storm passes,” she says.
Waiters says she isn't sure at this point how much higher the price of gas will rise, but, “There's no need to panic buy. We have plenty of gas supply, but it is important that you have a full tank of gas if indeed you are in a zone where you need to evacuate because it's about safety first,” Waiters says.
Allen Lynch says he predicts that the gas prices will spike for the next two weeks and then drop again. Some stations in Florida report they are already out of fuel.