AAA: Gas prices will stay above $3 for most of 2011

By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - Drivers in South Carolina can expect to pay more than three dollars per gallon of gas for the majority of 2011 according to AAA of the Carolinas.

"It does look like just with the global demand our supplies are lower and until we get those replenished I believe we're going to see these prices stay where they are," Sandra Horton of AAA Myrtle Beach explained.

"They're too high," driver Bob Bailey said. "Gas prices are too high."

Bailey says he can remember a day when gas prices were pocket change.

"Six gallons for a dollar," he recalled.

Right now AAA of the Carolinas is predicting palmetto state gas will continue to rise and if average spring increases hold true, drivers will likely see $3.15 per gallon.

"When people are out traveling and doing things, riding around, then certainly the demand... it makes the prices go up," Horton said.

For many businesses, they feel the pinch everywhere from increased food prices to delivery costs.

"I was just up the road and it was over three dollar for regular gas," Brian Wunderlich of Gino's Pizza exclaimed.

At Gino's pizza, Wunderlich says their delivery fee goes straight to his drivers' pockets to help pay for gas. Wunderlich says although they have kept their prices the same for over two years now, prices at the pump might be enough to force them to make some changes.

"We've actually been considering changing the delivery rate," Wunderlich admitted.

The math is simple, when gas prices go up profits for drivers go down.

"Especially when a customer doesn't tip them," Wunderlich explained. "This is what they do for a living, just like a waitress. They work for that and that's where their bread and butter comes from."

At the same time, Wunerlich understands that things still are not easy for most people affected by the recession.

"You've got to cut corners to make ends meet these days," Wunderlich recognized. "For a lot of people it's very tough."

As tough as it may be, Bob Bailey believes drivers will not be making too many changes to their plans due to prices.

"I think they'll just suck it up," Bailey ventured.

"People are spending money now and we're seeing that in this industry," Horton said.  "People are going. People are spending."

Horton says what is fueling the gas price rise is the additional demand oversees which helps to drive up the price per gallon.

AAA of the Carolinas says how fast the US economy turns around compared to the global economy will help determine prices since the strength of the US dollar has a large impact on prices.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All Rights Reserved.