Many drivers fear relief at the gas pump will be short-lived

·4 min read

Aug. 29—SAINT CLAIR — Although the high price of gasoline has been steadily dropping for the past several weeks, many drivers are saying to enjoy it while it lasts, because prices will jump again.

In Schuylkill County, motorists looking for the best price of gas could stop at the Sunoco station in Saint Clair or Wolkys in Sheppton, both of which were charging $3.99 per gallon.

Prices at other county stations hovered just over $4 per gallon, while the highest price per gallon was $4.79 at the junction of Route 54 and Interstate 81 in Mahanoy Twp.

Other local prices included $4.05 at the Turkey Hill Minit Market in Hometown; $4.06 at the Turkey Hill in Ashland; $4.08 at the Turkey Hill in Port Carbon; and $4.09 at the Mobil stations in Cressona and Schuylkill Haven, Valero stations in Tamaqua and McAdoo, and Unity in Frackville.

At Redner's in Hegins, the Exxon in Valley View, Conoco in Mahanoy Twp. and Cocoa Hut and Trac 6 in Mahanoy City, the cost per gallon was $4.19.

Steven Holbowitch, of Matawan, New Jersey, was traveling with Ann Lies through Saint Clair when he stopped at the Sunoco station to take advantage of the $3.99 per gallon cash price. The station offered a price of $4.09 for credit and debit card purchases.

"It's been a long time coming," Holbowitch said of declining gas prices. "I'm just afraid it's going to go back up."

The couple came to the Schuylkill County area about six months ago while going to visit Lies' mother in Lebanon.

On Sunday, Holbowitch said that he and Lies hope to move to Schuylkill County, probably to an apartment they found in Port Carbon.

"It's nice here," he said. "We kind of like the scenery."

Holbowitch took the time to pay cash inside to save 10 cents a gallon.

"Every little bit helps," he said. "It's a relief, but I'm afraid its going to go up."

The same sediment was offered by Ken Colna, of Saint Clair, who also took advantage of the Sunoco station price.

"This is false hope," he said. "We all know it's going to go back up."

Colna said the current state of the economy is hurting everyone.

"It's in the grocery store, it's at the gas pump," he said. "Something has to give or people won't be able to live."

When asked about the nominal difference between paying cash or credit, Colna said that he would take the few moments to walk inside and pay cash instead of taking advantage of the convenience of paying at the pump.

"You have to save every penny you can," he said. "I have a good job, but every little bit helps."

According to AAA, the average price of regular gasoline in the United States as of Sunday was $3.85 per gallon.

Pennsylvania came in at an average price of $4.14 per gallon, while surrounding states were $3.96 in New Jersey; $4.15, New York; $3.79, Maryland; and $3.64, Virginia.

Texas had the lowest average price per gallon at $3.38, while California led with an average cost of $5.27.

Florida was also below $4 per gallon, with an average price of $3.61. Also low were Midwest states, including Iowa at $3.53 and Wisconsin at $3.61.

While motorists are battling the high price of gasoline and other fuels, AARP said the easiest way to save money is to drive less.

For example, errands should be done during a person's normal commute instead of on separate trips.

Money can also be saved through driving techniques.

By driving smoothly and at the posted speed limits, less gasoline is used compared with racing to red lights and then hitting the brakes hard, AARP said.

Drivers should also keep up on regular maintenance of their vehicles, especially ensuring their tires are in good condition and properly inflated.

Lisa Heiser, of Frackville, stopped at the Mobil station at Route 61 and Ann Street near Saint Clair to put $30 in her Ford Escape SUV.

Although Heiser said she is glad gas prices are dropping, she finds it strange that it is happening now, since the summer vacation and travel season is winding down.

"It would have been nice to have these prices in June or July when people were going on vacation," she said. "It would've helped."

Whether or not the prices continue to drop or go in the opposite direction, Heiser said people will continue going about their business because there is no other choice.

"We have to drive," she said. "There's no way around it."