Gas prices skyrocket as motorists hit the road for the long Labor Day weekend

Gas prices: 'I'm not complaining yet'

Motorists react to soaring gas prices at start of the long Labor Day weekend
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Motorists react to soaring gas prices at start of the long Labor Day weekend

Gas prices are skyrocketing as motorists hit the road for the long Labor Day weekend.

But that didn’t deter John Grady of Warner Robins from his plans of heading up to Lake Oconee with his wife and children for the weekend.

“We rented a house up there,” said Grady, who was among a throng of motorists Friday at the Walmart pumps on Russell Parkway in Warner Robins. “We’re going to spend some time on the lake.”

Regular, unleaded gasoline was $2.55 per gallon at that Walmart. But Grady chose to pay $2.85 per gallon for a higher grade. He filled up his tritoon boat, a larger type of pontoon boat, as well as the large sports utility vehicle he was using to haul it.

“I would prefer not to pay prices that high, but given the circumstances, … I certainly understand that it’s a supply-and-demand issue,” Grady said.

Gas prices spiked overnight across the country in the continuing aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s bombardment of the Gulf Coast.

“Consumers should expect to see the highest Labor Day prices at the pump since 2014,” Josh Carrasco, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association, said in a release Friday. “We expect the national average to top $2.60/gallon.”

“On the positive side, AAA does not expect Gulf refineries to be offline for months, as early reports indicate minimal to no significant damage to Corpus Christi and Houston refineries. Once refineries are back to full operation, we should expect to see gas prices fall towards the end of September,” Carrasco said.

AAA also reported Friday that the average price of a gallon of gas soared by at least 10 cents in Georgia and seven other states from Thursday to Friday, according to The Associated Press.

Additionally, AAA found that the national average for a gallon of regular gas rose in one day from $2.45 Thursday to $2.51 Friday, the AP reported. The $2.51 national average surpassed the 2017 high set on April 20.

In some places, the spike was higher at some stations than the state or national average.

Travis Gibson filled up his big diesel pickup with fuel at the Walthall Chevron on Riverside Drive before traveling for the Labor Day weekend.

He said he understood why the 25-cent price spike happened.

"It's all Harvey," he said.

A sampling of Macon stations Friday showed the price of regular gas at $2.59 at Walthall Chevron on Riverside Drive, at $2.49 at the Kroger Midtown on Pio Nono Avenue, and $2.49 at a Flash Foods on Vineville Avenue.

In Warner Robins, a similar sampling found regular gas for sale at $2.49 per gallon at the Shell station at South Houston Lake Road and Feagin Mill Road, $2.53 per gallon at the OM Food Mart No. 1 on Feagin Mill Road, and $2.57 per gallon at the Sunoco at Leverette Road and South Houston Lake Road.

David Barber of Warner Robins wasn’t planning on doing any traveling for the holiday weekend, but he was feeling the pinch, too.

For $25, Barber said he normally gets right at three-fourths a tank of gas for his pickup. But Friday, he said he only got about a quarter of a tank for the same price.

He paid $2.55 a gallon for regular unleaded gas at the Walmart pumps on Russell Parkway in Warner Robins.

“Considering the storm going on in Texas, you know, it’s been a lot higher … So, under the circumstances, I don’t have any problem with it,” Barber said.

Kurtina Williams of Warner Robins was filling up at the crowded Kroger pumps on Ga. 96 before her holiday getaway.

She paid $2.76 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.

“It is what it is — like it doesn’t bother me,” Williams said. “I gotta have it.”

Telegraph photographer Beau Cabell and The Associated Press contributed.

Becky Purser: 478-256-9559, @BecPurser