July 14, 2008

Prepare to Get Nostalgic for $4-a-Gallon Gas

By Diane Smith, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jul. 12--Delores Harris is mad, and she's the one selling the gas.

She manages an independently owned Shell station near Calmont Avenue and Bryant Irvin Road in Fort Worth, and with oil prices continuing to rise, she's now charging $4.06 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas.

"It's killing us," Harris said. "We listen to it all day long from people. They think it's our fault."

Harris said she is profiting only 5 cents a gallon, and she sympathizes with consumers who are having to reach deeper into their wallets as prices tick upward.

"It's pretty rough," Harris said. "You let this gas get to $4.50 a gallon, and we're in trouble. People are not going to be able to afford to get out."

Consumers winced Friday when they saw new prices, ranging up to $4.19 for regular in the Fort Worth area -- and those prices don't yet reflect Friday's new trading records. The price of a barrel of crude oil spiked to a record $147.27 before settling at $145.08, up $3.43. Gasoline futures also rose to a trading record of $3.631 a gallon before finishing at $3.5632, up 5.23 cents.

Analysts said worries about the threat from Iran, a decline in the U.S. dollar and supply disruptions in Brazil and Nigeria -- major oil-producing nations -- contributed to the record highs.

"It's a record every day," said Chris Johnson, who paid $56 to fill up his tank Friday.

He longs for the days of $2-a-gallon gas. Johnson's folk-rock band, Telegraph Canyon, relies on gas to get to get to shows. The band was headed to Abilene on Friday, and he worried that gas costs will cut into earnings.

Wayne Meadlin, owner of a full-service Texaco on Camp Bowie Boulevard, said the gas crisis is "killing" him, too. His station was selling unleaded at $4.19 a gallon.

"You have to sell the gas at replacement value, or you'll be behind," Meadlin said.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.


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