After a spike in mid-August, gas prices in Killeen seem to be stabilizing. Fear and refinery closures due to Hurricane Isaac caused prices to rise across the country, and Texas was no exception. The average price per gallon was slightly above $3.35 at the beginning of August. The price rose above $3.70 a gallon before dropping to $3.66 on Friday, according to Gasbuddy.com.
That is still more expensive than most area residents are comfortable with.
“I live in Temple, and I work in Lampasas,” said EMS dispatcher Tom McGuire as he pumped $3.59 gas into his SUV. “I drive over 100 miles a day. This has really thrown a wrench into things.”
McGuire is taking steps to deal with rising costs. He recently bought a motorcycle to save money on gas and uses an app on his smartphone from Gasbuddy.com to find the best deals in the area.
“I am very selective about where I get my gas,” he said.
McGuire might be happy to know that Gasbuddy.com’s senior petroleum analyst Gregg Laskoski expects prices to decline toward the end of Labor Day weekend.
“Ten of the last 12 years, gas prices were actually lower at the end of Labor Day weekend than they were in the beginning,” Laskoski said.
Laskoski said Hurricane Isaac caused prices to soar because refineries were forced to close.
“Anytime you have proximity to oil infrastructure, these facilities go into a mode of closure or partial closure,” he said.
John Gilmore, owner of Killeen’s fuel wholesaler Big Chief Distributing Co., said it can take up to two weeks for a refinery to be fully operational after a closure.
“They can’t just show up the next day and start them back up,” he said.
Gilmore said although none of Big Chief’s suppliers were shut down by the storm, Big Chief still felt the impact.
“It still affects us because they have to divert products to make up for those refineries being hit,” Gilmore said.
The increasing gas prices are making it harder for powerwasher Michael Carranza to turn a profit. He has had to increase his prices from $100 to $135 per house to keep up with inflation.
“Gas prices are too high for me to make a living,” he said while filling up with $3.65 gas at Mickey’s on Trimmier and Illinois. “It’s eating up my profits. I had to go up on my prices. Everything has gone up.”