Gas prices continue climb on local and national level – TribLIVE

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Barb Constant of Plum didn’t mince words about gas prices Thursday, which skyrocketed 12 cents to $3.82 a gallon, up from $3.70, across the Pittsburgh region.
“It sucks, but there’s nothing we can do about it,” Constant said as she fueled her car at the Sheetz gas station on Pittsburgh Street in Cheswick.
Prices were even higher for Sara Wosen of Natrona Heights when she filled up at the BP gas station on Freeport Road in Harrison.
She paid $3.90.
“It stinks, but everything has gone up,” she said. “You have to buy gas. It’s not something you can give up.”
The spike comes amid an increase in demand, according to AAA, alongside climbing global prices for crude oil caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Since last week, 10 states have seen the largest increases in gas price averages — from an increase of 18 cents a gallon in Alabama to 39 cents a gallon in Michigan.
Pennsylvania didn’t make the list, but Pennsylvania’s gas prices are always higher than most. The statewide average Thursday was $3.87, compared with AAA’s national average of $3.72.
A week ago, the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.54, and a month ago it was $3.41.
Last year at this time, the average price nationwide for a gallon of gas was $2.73.
Chuck Abram of Monroeville drives a truck for his company. He was fueling up Thursday at the Sheetz gas station on Pittsburgh Street in Cheswick. While he has not been affected by the soaring gas prices because of his flex fuel, he knows soon it will become a concern.
“The prices will affect me when I start my own business, because I will cover my gas when I drive, and it is something to worry about,” he said.
Abram said since starting his job in September, he has been paying attention to gas prices and following the news about the jumping costs.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at price tracking service GasBuddy, said the Ukraine conflict and an uncertain market will lead into early spring, which is the time of year when gas prices creep up regardless.
GasBuddy released a 2022 fuel price forecast that predicts the national average price of gas to rise to near $4 a gallon by March 27, and peak at $4.13 by June.
Prices should begin to fall in summer to just under $3 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.
Until then, expect pain at the pump.
For the first time ever Thursday, a U.S. city — San Francisco — breached the $5-per-gallon mark, according to GasBuddy.
Richardo Housen of Greensburg travels up to 1,000 miles a week in his job as a mobile notary.
He called gas prices “ridiculous” and has had to make sacrifices at home to offset the hurt to his wallet. Housen said he canceled his cable service and cut other “luxuries” from his household budget.
“It costs me $15 more now per fill-up,” he said. “The government needs to do something. I’m eating Ramen noodles now like when I was in college.”
Guy Dreskler of Hempfield said he also may cut back on other expenses to make up for the extra money he’s paying for gas.
“You have to get gas, so something else gets lowered,” he said. “Maybe you don’t buy as good cuts of meats.”
At 70, Dreskler works part time but said he doesn’t have to because he’s financially comfortable. His daily routine calls for relatively short drives.
“I can spend an extra hundred bucks on gas if I have to,” he said. “But a lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and don’t have that.”
Dreskler said the federal government needs to take action to make the United States energy independent.
“This is all unnecessary because of what poor government has done to us,” he said. “It’s hurtful to the people.”
Gas prices spotted Thursday afternoon in the Greensburg area ranged from $3.89 to $4.14.
One couple that pulled into a South Greensburg gas station drove away , believing they could save a dime per gallon by going elsewhere.
Patrick Ursiny of Uniontown has a 45-minute drive to his job in Greensburg, hauling power equipment for servicing on behalf of a home and garden retailer.
“It’s a rip-off,” he said of the prices at the pump, Ursiny would like to see an emphasis on domestic oil production to ease the pain at the pump.
“It’s just going to get worse,” he said. “I can’t see why we can’t start drilling here.”
Jodi Rupert of Shelocta stopped to fuel up in South Greensburg while driving her husband to a dental appointment. They make other medical trips to Pittsburgh, which only increases the impact of spiking gas prices.
“I don’t travel that often, but when I do, I’ve got to go,” she said. “I take advantage of apps and different things to get a discount.
“We’ve talked about getting a hybrid car, but there’s no need at the moment with everything else that’s going on.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, tpanizzi@triblive.com or via Twitter .
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