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Posted: May 17, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Gas prices in Newton higher than average

By Amber Pittman/

Prices climb: Gas prices in Newton County have been on the climb and are now above the state average.

When you fill up your car in Newton County, you're paying for some of the highest-priced gas in Georgia.
In Newton County and in much of metro Atlanta, gas ranges from $3.87 to $3.98 a gallon. Just down the road, gas is at $3.82 to $3.89 in Madison, according to GasBuddy.com. And across the state, regular-grade gas in Augusta ranges from $3.69 to $3.89 a gallon; from $3.69 to $3.89 a gallon in Macon; from $3.67 to $3.99 in Savannah; from $3.74 to $3.88 in Columbus; and from $3.79 to $3.88 in Valdosta.

Overall, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Georgia is $3.95, right at the national average of $3.96.

Part of the discrepancy can be attributed to the seasonal change to a cleaner-burning gas for summer in the metro area and across much of north Georgia as required by the federal government to ease ozone pollution in summer, according to Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

"That costs a bit more to produce, so they pass it on to motorists," he said.

The good news is that fuel prices should begin a slow, steady decline this month, according to DeHaan and Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA South.

Brady said to expect prices to decline to $3.60 to $3.75 per gallon for regular over the summer, subject to changes in a volatile market and any hurricanes impacting rigs and refiners in the Gulf of Mexico.
Prices surged early in the week over apprehension that Mississippi River flooding and events in the Mideast would impact oil, Brady said, but the fears were unfounded. She said to expect significant declines the last of May and early June in what you're paying at the pump.

DeHaan said gas prices should drop in the Atlanta area to $3.50 to $3.85 a gallon over the summer, with a possible uptick again in August and September with hurricane season. A major storm could send prices to near record highs. Late summer prices could reach $3.50 or $4.25, but should not reach an astronomical $5 a gallon, barring a catastrophic event, he said.

 

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