Motorists driving around East Texas are getting the equivalent of sticker shock. Local gasoline prices went from an average of $2.95 per gallon for regular unleaded to $3.19 in a matter of hours for many stations. That's higher than the national average.
The statewide gas price average is now $2.95. The weekly Triple-A Texas gas price survey shows regular-grade gasoline in Texas in the eleven Texas cities polled climbed an average of eight cents to $2.95 per gallon. That's just a penny a gallon from the record of $2.96 reached in the wake of Hurricane Rita. Nationally, the average climbed eight cents to $3.04 per gallon.
The highest regular-grade gasoline was found in Amarillo at $3.21 per gallon and the cheapest was found in San Antonio at $2.86.
Motorists we spoke with had a wide range of opinions about the runaway prices. One visitor from Beaumont said, "Gas prices keep going up because the price of oil is going up, but the price of gasoline varies greatly throughout the country. Now, I'm from Beaumont and we're paying $2.83 or $2.81 and here, goodness, it's $2.97 or more."
Some Lufkin residents blame greedy lawmakers for the steady increase. "All the people in politics are oil people and it's interesting just last week the governor had thoughts of taking the 20 cent road tax off and then that's when we started seeing another sharp increase in the price per gallon."
Others told us they believe big oil companies are behind the price hike and are enjoying record profits while consumers are struggling to pay the price.