By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS
The pinch of soaring gas prices is leaving its mark in Quay County.
Tucumcari police reports indicated four separate gas skips last weekend.
Quay County commissioners are in the process of reviewing their county vehicle policy to see how fuel can be conserved.
On Wednesday, a gallon of premium unleaded at South First Street’s Phillips 66 was going for $3.15.
Anyone who recently checked a gas pump in Quay County is well aware that gas prices have reached an all-time high — and experts expect they will continue to soar.
“I filled a gas can with 1.3 gallons and it cost $4,” said Brian Mott, who runs the Tucumcari lawn service B.A. Mowing.
“It’ll get to the point where it doesn’t pay to push a lawn mower,” he said, adding the prices have not yet affected his business, but he expects they will.
“I do a lot of work for the city and they are already asking me to come down with my prices,” Mott said. “If this continues, I’ll probably have to go up.”
Business has also been strained at the local pumps.
Sherry Bruhn, manager of McStop Chevron on South First Street, said the impact has been devastating.
“It’s horrible. (Business) dropped dramatically,” Bruhn said. “It started in the middle of last week. School starting has something to do with it, but I’d say our business has been cut in half.
“It’s pretty sad,” she said. “Gas was at $1.79 in January of this year and now nine months later it’s at $2.89. I wish there was a solution.”
The auto club AAA tells motorists to avoid unnecessary driving to conserve gasoline supplies. One could always bicycle or walk.
And a host of Web sites offer gas conservation advice that includes keeping your vehicle properly tuned; being conservative with the air conditioning; and cleaning out the trunk, for less weight uses less gas.
What caused the soaring gas prices?
Just before Katrina hit New Orleans this week, the nation saw a shutdown and evacuation of hundreds of oil company production platforms and drilling rigs in anticipation of the storm’s wrath and the closure of the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the nation’s largest facility for receiving tankers carrying imported oil.
Industry insiders said at least eight refineries in the Gulf-area have either shut down or reduced production, leaving the nation’s total refining capacity at 8 percent rather than 10 percent.
Neither a simple solution nor an end seems to be in sight, for industry experts said Hurricane Katrina hit when the nation was already straining to meet fuel demands.
Experts said as hurricane damage was being assessed over the country’s energy midsection, some industry observers were predicting petroleum could soar to $80 a barrel.
HOW TO MAKE GAS LAST
Get regular vehicle tuneups
Avoid long warmups when starting the engine; they waste fuel
Never fill your gas tank to the top; excess gas sloshes or seeps out
Securely tighten your gas cap to avoid evaporation
Keep tires inflated to the maximum limit
Car pool whenever possible
Pre-plan trips; take care of errands all in the same area