Daily News photo/ALY GIBSON Doug Boyll, of Dowagiac, washes his windshield while the pump fills his gas tank Tuesday. After a price drop late last week, gas prices spiked almost overnight, preparing for the holiday weekend.

Archived Story

Gas prices offer little reprieve

Published 3:50pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Travelers and residents alike will feel the recent gas price spike in their wallets over the Fourth of July weekend after what seemed like a hopeful downward trend.

A dip in gasoline prices sent many drivers to the pump late last week, paying between $3.23 and $3.30 per gallon. Almost overnight, the prices have returned to the $3.45 to $3.55 mark, catching many who are on the road to holiday celebrations and enraging residents who must fuel up to get to and from employment. While the holiday may be to blame for the jump, drivers expressed annoyance, disgust and general apathy over the price jump.

“Honestly, I don’t care about it (gas prices),” Dowagiac resident Doug Boyll said. “If I let it bother me, it just doesn’t do any good.”

Boyll said between he and his wife, they go through roughly three tanks of gasoline a week. After traveling last week through Dallas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas, the local prices packed an even bigger punch.

“Dallas was right around $3.05, and Missouri and Arkansas, I saw as low as $2.99,” Boyll said.

For Dora Hartline, driving a truck that requires more gas has become difficult when prices jump unexpectedly.

“I live in Benton Harbor, but I’m from Dowagiac and all of my family is here,” Hartline said Tuesday. “It’s terrible. By the time I go out to get gas, the prices have risen again.”

Hartline said that because she works nights and sleeps during the day, she and others like her on the same schedule often miss the daily fluctuation and get stuck paying higher prices.

“I’d say I spend about $50 a week for gas because it’s a truck,” Hartline said. “But they need to give us a break.”

For other southwest Michigan residents, the recent spike causes a lot of anger.

“It’s a kick in the gut,” Judy Eazsol, of Niles, said Tuesday. “A holiday comes around and the prices jump every time; that’s politics.”

Eazsol, who expressed anger about the spike, said that the jump is especially difficult on drivers who survive on Social Security and disability benefits.

“We get barely enough to live off of,” Eazsol said. “We don’t have any extra funds to play around with.”

Fellow Niles resident Brenda Lyons said the price jump was expected, but that it doesn’t make the economic pinch any easier on consumers.

“It’s annoying,” Lyons said. “Even after the Fourth, it might just stay up.”

While the prices may shift unpredictably again after the holiday dust settles, Boyll said caring too much only makes the situation worse.

“I know they gouge the prices,” Boyll said. “The people who can do something about it are being paid to do nothing about it.”

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