AAA: No relief in sight at the pumps

ATLANTA — Motorists hoping for a break at the pumps shouldn’t hold their collective breaths.

“Motorists can expect prices to increase well into spring, however year-to-date price trends mirror that of 2011. If the trending continues like last year, we could see pump prices peak in May and then start to retreat,” Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, said in a news release earlier this week.

At the start of the week, gas prices in Georgia averaged $3.790 per gallon, up from $3.722 per gallon a week ago, $3.603 per gallon a month ago and $3.471 per gallon a year ago.

“The factors causing gas prices to increase are the same ones we’ve been hearing and reading about for the last three months, however as prices inch up, more motorists are looking for someone or something to blame,” Brady said. “Unfortunately, it’s the retailers that take the brunt of the blame since they are the most visible to motorists, and drivers see the retailer as the one who puts $4 on the marquee and takes their hard-earned money, when in fact, retailer profit margins shrink the more gas prices increase.”

In Georgia, according to AAA, retailers average a 10 cent per gallon profit margin.

Roughly 76 percent of the price of a gallon of gas goes to the cost of crude oil, while 12 percent goes to the government in the form of taxes — roughly 47.8 cents per gallon, according to AAA. An additional 6 percent goes to refineries while the remaining 6 percent is split between transportation costs and retailer profits.

“Skyrocketing gas prices is one of the most important issues on the minds of Georgians. I hear from hundreds each day who struggle to fill up the gas tank to get to work, take the kids to school, or run
necessary errands,” U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said in a news release. “It is imperative for Congress to focus on creating a policy to expand and diversify our energy sources so the American people are no longer held hostage by the prices at the pump. I am hopeful that in the future, we will take on some form of comprehensive energy legislation.”

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