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Holidays fuel demand at gas pumps

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer
By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer

Jovani Moy was ready for the slight uptick in gasoline prices this week.

He’s been setting aside $20 to $50 per week as gas prices have declined in recent weeks so he’ll be prepared when they go back up.

“It’s been so up and down,” Moy said Friday as he pumped gas into his Chevrolet pickup at QuikTrip on Eagle Drive.

“One week I save a few pennies, then the next day I have to spend it,” he said. “I’m still trying to get used to it. It’s kind of like a shock effect. I hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”

Gas prices climbed slightly this week to $3.10 a gallon as the New Year’s holiday approaches, and they are expected to stay there until early January because of high demand related to holiday travel, said Sarah Schimmer, a spokeswoman for AAA Texas.

“We have seen an increase over the last week and it has to do with the demand for gas — it has risen because of the big holiday [this] week and the big holiday next week,” Schimmer said. “Retailers are setting up prices in response to the big demand.”

Last week, prices for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel averaged about $3.05 statewide, about a penny less than the average before Christmas last year, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. Locally, some stations, including QuikTrip, were lower than the statewide average Friday.

The prices could rise slightly as New Year’s Day approaches because travel is expected to increase even more, Schimmer said.

An estimated 7.9 million Texans are expected to travel 50 miles or more this holiday season, and nine out of 10 are expected to travel by car, according to AAA Texas.

The prices last week helped Phil Eddings travel around the Dallas-Fort Worth area for Christmas, but he said the prices haven’t changed significantly enough to make a large impact on his budget.

“It has helped a lot, but it still needs to go down more,” he said Friday.

The recent lower prices also have helped Kirstie Wall save as she commutes from Denton to WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., about 40 miles away.

“I use a lot of gas, so it’s pretty helpful,” she said. “It’s helped to have money for other things, and I don’t have to spend all of my money on gas. I can have a little extra to spend.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.