73
      Thursday
      82 / 69
      Friday
      83 / 67
      Saturday
      85 / 69

      Labor Day weekend gas prices set to spike after storm

      Gas prices are spiking across the region, including on the Eastern Shore at this Wawa. Photo: Mike Friedrich

      Tropical Storm Isaac may impact your Labor Day travel plans in more ways than one.

      With gas prices rising yet again, filling up your gas tank is becoming a frightening experience for your wallet.

      In just the past week, the average price for a gallon of gas has jumped by more than 10 cents nationally. In Washington, regular unleaded runs for over $4. The spike is being blamed on a number of factors, including refineries being shut down by Tropical Storm Isaac.

      A massive and deadly fire at a refinery fire in Venezuela also is fueling the rising prices. AAA spokesman John Townsend calls it a "double whammy" and a "perfect storm."

      "The distributors raise the price," says gas station owner Karim Zarhloul. "We don't make much money on gas. they're pennies.

      With gas prices rising by the hour, AAA predicts gas prices for Labor Day weekend will be the highest on record. Analysts predict prices will one again fall after the Labor Day rush.

      That's no comfort for those who need gas now and are doing whatever they can to pay for it. David Rizer, the owner of Royal Pawn in Woodbridge, says more and more people are coming in to pawn items for gas money.

      "Today alone, we've had three people requesting money just for gas for their cars," Rizer said.

      Townsend and others believe that the distributors are pumping up prices out of fear that disruptions in the oil supply could drive the cost of gas to unprecedented heights. Industry observers believe that those distributors want to make record profits while people still can afford to buy their product.

      "People are running up the price because they are afraid of what the future price will be," Townsend said.

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