Many Carson City residents face higher prices at the gasoline pump as they prepare for Independence Day weekend travel.
Average retail gasoline prices in Nevada increased 2.5 cents in the past week, GasBuddy.com reported Monday. It averaged $3.86 per gallon on Sunday based on a GasBuddy survey of 1,130 gasoline outlets in the state, which compares with a national average of $3.68.
One Carson City gas station operator cited both Iraq turmoil and the usual holiday blip upward.
“It usually goes up around holidays,” said Steve McIntyre, manager of the ARCO AM-PM convenience store and gas station at 720 S. Carson St., which is just south of the Ormsby House.
“We were told that the problem in Iraq is probably the reason speculators keep the prices up,” he said, which may also come into play. He said he didn’t understand that because not a lot of Iraqi petroleum is directly attributable to United States gasoline or comes here from there, but he agreed it’s a world market for crude oil.
McIntyre, a 27-year veteran, said that basically, as always, it’s the law of supply and demand at work. GasBuddy last week said summer demand looks brisk, with early July probably matching last year’s national level of 365-million gallons per day in fuel needs.
McIntyre’s gasoline costs less than the average statewide as cited in the GasBuddy survey. His ARCO station and others keep prices lower than average in part by operating basically on a cash basis, not taking credit cards and charging 35 cents for use of debit cards.
Susan Secoy of Carson City was filling up her red Jeep at one of his station’s pumps.
“Of course, I think they’re too much,” she said when asked about gasoline prices, “but it’s like everything else.”
The Carson City resident was making a routine purchase, not one of a road trip. She said she won’t be among the 3 million Mountain West residents that AAA estimates will be taking trips, by car or other means, of 50 miles or more for the Independence Day period. July 4 is Friday, so the three-day weekend lures many people onto highways. Secoy said she plans her holiday trips when the roads aren’t so jammed.
The AAA automobile firm’s travel survey indicated Independence Day travel means people on the go for the weekend this year will increase by 1.5 percent, compared with 2013.
“With the Fourth of July weekend being the busiest summer travel holiday, we can expect increased airport congestion, highway backups and higher travel expenditures,” Cynthia Harris, AAA Nevada spokesperson, said in a news release. Among the 3 million will be 2.4 million Mountain West residents driving to holiday destinations. Air, rail, bus and watercraft travel also will be up, Harris reported.
In Carson City, among the least expensive gasoline outlets on Monday were Costco, where the pump price for regular gas was $3.739. The JM Market and Gasoline Station on the southeast corner of North Carson and Park streets also had a pump price for regular of $3.739.
Along with McIntyre’s outlet, most other ARCO AM-PM stations had posted prices at $3.779 for regular, among them the outlets at North Carson and E. William streets and at Highway 50 and North Lompa Lane. The Golden Gate Petroleum outlet, just across the street west of the U.S. 50/Lompa Lane ARCO, also was at $3.779.
The 7-Eleven market and gasoline outlet at North Carson Street and College Parkway, as well as the Maverik gasoline station at College Parkway and Research Way, listed regular at $3.7999.
Gas Buddy, meanwhile, had reported late last week that North American oil prices had advanced just a small amount since Iraqi violence put a question mark on future stability in that Mideast nation, but U.S. consumers still would see the most expensive Independence Day gas prices in six years.