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Gas prices expected to stay high

The price of gasoline is going up and up, and there appears tobe no relief in sight.

The push upward is not caused by a gas shortage in the South,but because of high demand for heating oil in the North, accordingto Chester Foster, owner of Foster’s Chevron.

Demand for crude oil is also high, he added.

“The way I understand it, if they continue to have hard wintersup North, then the price will continue to go up,” Foster said.

In the 10 days, Foster said, he has seen his prices go from$1.49 a gallon to $1.63, and that may seem cheap next week.

Prices throughout Lincoln County range from $1.59 to $1.63.

“It will probably to up to about $1.65 or more in the next fewdays,” he said Monday. “They just raised our prices again.”

January increases are not uncommon, he said.

“We have this every year,” Foster said. “When the demand forheating oil in the North begins to drop, then the prices here willstart to come down.”

The service station owner said he couldn’t explain why therefineries couldn’t produce more product to offset the increaseddemand of the North during winter.

“We ask that all the time, too,” he said. “Higher gas pricesaffect us too. Not only do we get hit as consumers, but it affectsour businesses also. People who see high gas prices won’t come inand shop.”

Jerry Dykes of Wesson, a customer at another service station,said he thought he knew the answer. Dykes, who is retired, said theproducers realize gasoline is a necessity for the working class inorder for them to get to work to do their jobs.

According to Dykes, the Organization of Petroleum ExportingCountries (OPEC) will make their money regardless of whetherthey’re producing more or less oil.

If they produce less crude oil they can charge more and blamehigher demand while if they produce the amount needed to meetdemand or overproduce they have to charge less for the sameproduct. Therefore, he said, it is in their best interests tounderproduce crude oil and make the same amount of money on lessproduct.

“They’re sticking it to us and the general public has no controlover it,” he said. “They control the cost of gas.”