Originally created 08/08/06

Local sellers say gas might not skyrocket



Local gas station owners are holding their breaths and their prices until the situation surrounding the shutdown of a major Alaskan oil field becomes clearer.

Marty Koger, a co-owner of Koger-Walters Oil Co. Inc, said he's keeping a close eye on the market as it reacts to the pipeline problems at the Prudhoe Bay oil field. He said it's still too early to tell whether there will be a price increase.

"This isn't Katrina," said Mr. Koger, whose company owns and operates 18 BP stations in Augusta and surrounding counties. "This is just a pipeline that has to be replaced - I hope."

He said that as the market and his company deal with the pipeline he will know more but that gasoline futures had risen only about 2 cents by Monday evening.

"It goes up and down 2 and 3 cents every day," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's entirely too early to determine what it will do."

The shutdown of the Prudhoe Bay field, which is owned by BP, will reduce domestic oil production by 8 percent.

In metro Augusta, the average price for a gallon of regular was $2.932 on Monday. That is just shy of the $3.166 record set Sept. 4 and still short of the national average, $3.036, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Andy Jones, the vice president of Jones Oil Co., said he doubts that this could trigger a Hurricane Katrina-like gas rush. His company owns Sprint Food Stores in Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie and Jefferson counties.

"We hope it's a short-term thing and prices are going to come back down when the market stops being so excited over news like that," he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.