Scotland County residents may be feeling a strangle hold at the gas pump.
Here and across the state, the price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline has risen from $2.57 in December 2010 to around $3.80 today.
“I think that it’s pure greed driving the gas prices up,” said Katie Locklear who was getting half a tank of gasoline at the Kangaroo store on Main Street in Laurinburg. “Those people have a lot of money and they just want more.”
In Scotland County, the price of gasoline ranges from as high as $3.81 to as low as $3.61. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in North Carolina is $3.74.
AAA Carolina’s spokesman Tom Crosby said he expects the price to go even higher.
“If conditions continue to rise the way that they have in the past five weeks, we will hit the $4 mark for gas sometime in late May,” said Crosby. “We have seen a slight drop in the demand for oil, and people that use credit to pay for it at the pumps but not enough to effect the situation.”
Crosby added that the price of gasoline all depends on what the speculators do with the oil futures and “what kind of shortage we have.”
According to Crosby, when the unrest in the Middle East dwindles and things return to normal, the prices should start coming down again.
“We need the situation in Libya and Egypt to calm before we will start seeing prices fall at the pump,” said Crosby. “The U.S. is no longer in control of the price of gasoline. We aren’t the 800-pound gorilla in the room anymore it’s a much more global market for a barrel of oil.”
While only time will tell how high we will have to pay to travel to and from work and other destinations, the development of the Venezuela oil won’t have much impact on the price, according to Crosby.
“It will all go into the commodities market, and the same countries will compete over that barrel of crude oil.”
With summer travel just around the corner, many families find themselves wondering if they can afford to take a summer vacation this year.
Locklear, who lives in Maxton, said she will have a tough time if gas prices continue to rise.
“People have to have gas to get to work, with the high prices they have to choose what they need out of their pay check,” she said. “Those of us on a fixed income can barely afford it.”