Local holiday fuel prices down slightly from 2011

The price paid for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Jefferson County is down slightly from one year ago, according to the American Automobile Association.

“Arkansas is showing a statewide average of $3.18 per gallon which is down slightly from the $3.21 per gallon in 2011,” said AAA Missouri vice president for public affairs Michael Right. “This is down significantly from the current national average of $3.43 per gallon which is up slightly from $3.35 per gallon last year.”

A survey of Pine Bluff area gas prices recently showed a tight range with the lowest being reported from the EZ Mart at Dollarway Road and Hutchinson Street at $3.15 per gallon and the highest area price at the Duck In and Go at U.S. 63 and state Highway 54 at $3.23 per gallon.

Other prices included $3.16 per gallon at the Valero at 3000 E. Harding Ave. and $3.18 per gallon at the Murphy USA at 5601 S. Olive St. at the intersection with Interstate 530.

In White Hall, gas is between $3.15 and $3.17 per gallon, including $3.15 at the CITGO at 800 N. Bryant St. and U.S. 65; $3.15 at the Valero at Dollarway Road and White Hall Road; and $3.17 at the Shell at Sheridan Road and Robin Road.

Right said the fluctuations in price are to be expected in the coming weeks.

“There is lots of volatility in oil and particularly the wholesale gasoline market,” Right said. “The price is fluctuating with the latest Middle East news. Hopefully gas will moderate as we go through the rest of the year as demand continues to diminish before it picks up again in February of next year. Of course it depends on events that may or may not occur.”

Travel tips

Right offered several tips for making sure that holiday road trips are made safely.

“We expect 39.1 million Americans hitting the road this Thanksgiving with an average roundtrip mileage of 588 miles,” Right said. “This is up less than one percent from last year.”

Right said that before beginning a road trip, motorists must ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy.

“Make sure that all of your lights work and that includes your turn signals, backup lights, interior lights, and four way flashers,” Right said. “Also make sure that all of your tires have the proper air pressure including the spare. You also need to make sure that you have all of the tools necessary to change a tire.”

“If a mechanic has not looked at your vehicle lately take it in to check for the proper tire tread depth, to make sure that the brakes are functioning and to ensure that the engine is operating efficiently,” Right said.

Right said that motorists should refrain from attempting to drive during times when they would normally be sleeping.

“If going long distances be sure to take frequent breaks,” Right said. “Try and time it good instead of trying to make good time.”