First Posted: 5/3/2013
Even though fuel prices are about 12 percent lower than a year ago, Oscar Cabrera of Scranton said it’s been a long time since he could afford to fill his SUV’s tank.
“I just put $20 in every day,” Cabrera said while at the pump next to his Chevrolet Trailblazer. “It’ll take (nearly) $100 to fill the tank.”
Although gas prices usually rise as Memorial Day approaches, this year is bucking the trend. Pump prices have been hovering around $3.40 during the past few weeks in the Wilkes-Barre area, according to AAA statistics, although some stations are offering it for a couple of pennies less.
In April, gas was selling for around $3.60.
At the Pilot Travel Center, Pittston Township, where gas was the lowest spotted Friday morning at $3.33 per gallon, Jodi Maziarczyk of Pittston said she spends about $30 a week to fuel her Pontiac Aztec.
Maziarczyk, who said she does not travel too much, keeps her weekly fuel bill down by using reward points earned grocery shopping. She chuckled and said she buys more to save at the pump.
She said the extra purchases are used anyway and the fuel cost savings are worth it.
“I find myself buying other things just to get the points … because you can’t eat the gas,” Maziarczyk said.
Renaldo Nunc, an attendant for seven years at the Sunoco station along North Keyser Avenue in Scranton, rolled his eyes and said this spring fuel prices are inconsistent and crazy.
“Here it’s $3.39. Down there it’s $3.40-something,” Nunc said, pointing in the direction of another gas station down the road.
Paul Gibson of Clarks Summit was fueling up at the Valero station along Route 11, South Abington Township, where gas cost $3.37 a gallon. He said he commutes 30 miles to Waymart each day but often carpools to conserve.
Gibson said gas is pricey but, with four kids, traveling by car is still cheaper than flying when they vacation.
While it looks like gasoline prices will not drop much more, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects pump prices will not rise much higher either.
The average price in coming months should be around $3.56-per gallon until December, according to the EIA. Projections for 2014 have a gallon of gas priced averaging $3.38.
Nobody at the pumps Friday said they have made extra travel plans this year because of lower gas prices.
A vacation specialist, Fran Ogonosky, who owns Wide World RV Center in Plains Township with her two sisters, said the extended winter-like weather has kept summer travel out of mind.
“Weather in this area is a major, major factor,” Ogonosky said. “Because the weather is just starting to break, people are just starting to come out.”
Ogonosky said that last year, when gas prices were reaching $4 a gallon, customers still bought RVs, but they would find places to park them long-term instead of touring.