Locals wary of rising costs at the gas pump

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 12, 2010

NATCHEZ — No one in the Miss-Lou misses the gas prices of July 2008, but no one has forgotten about it either.

Months have passed since the highest of the sky-high prices, but drivers have begun to notice the slow rise at the pump again, like mercury in a thermometer.

“I was feeling good about prices when they were falling a few weeks back,” Roxie resident Craig Jackson said.

“Now that prices are going the other way it makes me nervous. You never know where it is going to stop.”

A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that Mississippians spent more than 6 percent of their annual income on gas in 2009, the highest percentage of income expenditure in the country.

Louisiana residents spent just over 5 percent, third in the nation in proportion to income.

When ranked just on amount of money spent on gas in the year, Louisianans and Mississippians didn’t fair much better. The study ranks the states third and fourth, respectively, in terms of the total amount spent on gas in 2009.

Tanya Thorpe, a housewife from Lorman, said she isn’t surprised to see Mississippians ranking high on the list.

“I’d like to know why,” she said. “I’m sure it is a combination of high prices and not having as many high-paying jobs.”

Thorpe fills the tank of her SUV just once a week, on Sundays, to save money.

“Sometimes I’ll have to put a little in it on Thursday, but I really try to make it all week,” she said.

The largest amount of her gas is used driving out of town for groceries and other services.

“Being a one income household we have to be more careful when gas prices go up, but we make it work,” she said.

According to mississippigasprices.com, the average price for a gallon of gas in Mississippi on Sunday was $2.749, compared to a national average of $2.868.

Jackson said he is affected more than many people because he uses three tanks of gas per week, most of which is used on his commute to McComb for work.

He said he looks for the lowest priced gas he can find, but said he doesn’t have much control on the portion of his income that is spent on gas.

“Gas is one of the first things that come out of my check,” he said.

“You have to have it. If you don’t go to work, you don’t get paid, so I just have to make it work.”