Gas prices rise; customers not deterred

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    By Michael Koberlein

    Although local service station employees say business has remained about the same, an increase in gas prices does affect the economy.

    ?Everyone has to raise their prices and that?s why it?s hard on the economy,? said Aren Bybee, manager of Premium Oil Amoco in Lehi. ?Every dump truck driver has to pay more, every truck driver. As prices go up it puts less money in peoples? pockets.?

    He said prices are going up because there are not enough oil refineries to refine crude oil, but environmentalists encourage fewer refineries to raise gas prices.

    ?They like gas prices to be high like in Europe where it?s $5 a gallon, because instead of driving cars they ride a bike or walk,? he said.

    Bybee said people would stop driving cars if gas prices reach $5 a gallon ? he?d bet on it.

    Dave Wiscombe, manager of Combo?s in Spanish Fork, said his store has not felt much impact of rising gas prices because people still need fuel, regardless of what price they have to pay.

    ?People a year ago said they wouldn?t pay when it was $2.50, but they paid it anyway,? he said. ?It?s like people who smoke who say once it reaches $3.00 a pack they will stop smoking, and now it?s upwards to $5.00 a pack and their still smoking.?

    Wiscombe said gas prices change without much notice. The store receives a phone call from the gas company right before the price changes.

    ?We never know when they?re [price] going to go up and down,? he said. ?It?s pretty inconsistent.?

    As gas prices raise, it tremendously affects airlines and their customers ? and that?s just one industry, Troy Carpenter said, a finance researcher for the Marriott School of Management.

    ?It has a tendency to make things slump,? he said. ?As prices rise then demand increases. If taken to an extreme, we could slip into a recession.?

    With gas prices increasing, there are a few things people can do to preserve gas, said 18-year-old Brenna Jackson said, a pre-communications major.

    ?I haven?t made a huge change, but I do try and drive less to save gas,? she said.

    Jackson, who recently took a road-trip to California, said gas was close to $2.50 there, while it was $1.99 in Utah. Now, it?s around $2.18 a gallon here.

    She said she tries to preserve fuel by gradually accelerating in her car. She said from what she has heard if people keep a constant speed and don?t accelerate too fast, they will save gas.

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