A spike in gasoline prices left many Clay County residents paying upwards of $2 a gallon to keep their cars moving Tuesday, and rumors of even more increases throughout the summer are leaving consumers edgy about their purchasing practices.
Gas stations around the country saw a rise in price as early as Monday afternoon. On average, Clay Countians paid $1.97 per gallon, though at their highest, prices hit $2.05.
Terri Moore, co-owner of the Stuart Moore Oil Corporation, said that several factors play into price increases, especially for smaller businesses. For instance, the cost of insurance for the company's gas transport trucks will raise 40 percent on June 1.
"Costs are going up higher and higher," Moore said. "A lot of the time, the price at the pump isn't what we're paying for it. Everyone's getting hit."
Brazil resident Ramona Albright was paying $1.97 per gallon at Speedway's pumps yesterday, though she said the increased cost didn't surprise her.
"I listen to the news too much," she said. "I expected it."
She said she might have to take alternate transportation if gas prices rise more, as they are expected to, over the summer. Besides staying home more, she said she owns horses and "would ride them if (she) had to."
Sanders' job requires that she travel up to 1,000 miles a week. Her 1989 Ranger gets approximately 15 miles to the gallon.
John Moore, another co-owner of Stuart Moore Oil, said that many companies simply "hold off as long as they can," charging customers less than what the gas was purchased for. This can only go on for a while before the company takes a hard hit in the pocketbook, though.
"When someone raises that white flag, raises the prices, everyone has to," he said.
Moore also said that a large price spike can bring a temporary decrease in customers, though most people simply do not buy gas until prices drop a little bit.
Terri added that many customers are now looking past mid-grade and premium gasolines, buying unleaded gas to save money.
As an at-or-below cost market, Terri said the industry's business is much more favorable when gas prices are low. Generally, a company tries to break even on gas, though figures can range from five percent above or below cost "at the most."
"Most of the time it's (below cost)," she added.