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Gas Price Update: 14 Cents a Mile and Climbing

Yes, gas prices have gone up, and regardless of who's to blame, it doesn't fill that void in your wallet. Okay, so few of us pay for our gas with cash anymore, not when you're shelling out more than $50 to fill up that 15-gallon tank.

Here's a tip. You can save about $3.60 on that 15 gallons if you buy your gas at a Costco or Sam's Club in Harrisburg. You'll drain half your tank to get there, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood?

So let's start thinking local. Word from our vigilant Wyalusing gas-price monitor, who happens to double as sports editor, is the price of a gallon of regular gas on New Year's Day was $3.14.9. On Tuesday evening March 8, it was $3.57.9. That, of course, is a 43-cents-a-gallon increase and a difference of $6.45 for those 15 gallons—$47.23 to $53.68. And that's almost a nickel a week. Remember nickels? We used to buy things with them.

That makes gas just about as expensive as bottled drinking water, one of the most precious commodities on Earth, per gallon.

There have been at least seven increases in the Wyalusing gas price since Feb. 18, and last week it went up on three straight days—the second, third and fourth of March.

The average nationwide, and again we're going by the end of the business day, March 8, was a shade over $3.50. That means the average consumer in this country is paying about eight cents less per gallon than we are in Wyalusing. But it's a heck of a lot better than filling up in California where the average price per gallon is $3.91.9.

In the summer of 2008, by the way, our gas prices here hit $4.12.9, which comes to $61.93 per 15 gallons. Word is we're likely to reach those heights again by the time we're settled into spring.

If you drive around much, which is not advisable if your annual take-home pay falls below six figures, you have no doubt noticed that the prices at the pumps will drop or rise within a handful of miles, depending on the direction you are driving. Gas prices in Towanda-Wysox, Dushore and Wyalusing are pretty much the same at about $5.57.9, though one station on Towanda's York Avenue reported a price of $3.52.9.

Drive to Meshoppen and you can buy gas there for $3.50.9. Still too much? Keep driving to Tunkhannock and the best prices are $3.47.9 and $3.49.9. Okay, that's $1.50 cheaper per 15 gallons than filling up in Wyalusing. Unfortunately, $1.50 will only take you about 10.5 miles on Wyalusing prices if your gas mileage is 25 miles a gallon.

The cheapest gas in Scranton was $3.41.9 and the most expensive was $3.79.9. It is interesting to note that there are two Sheetz stations about three miles apart in the Scranton metropolitan area—one in Clarks Summit and the other in Dickson City—and one sells gas for $3.49.9 and the other for $3.59.9. The cheapest in Williamsport was $3.49.9.

Now if you really want cheap gas, and you're willing to drive three hours to the state capital to get it, you can pump it for as low as $3.33.9 at Costco and Sam's Club. Gasoline prices in the Harrisburg area are generally around $3.41.9 and $3.42.9. Most of those state legislators have to drive home, you know.

Just to make you feel better, it's running about $3.69.9 in the Binghamton and Elmira areas, though New York's state gas tax is mostly responsible for the 10 or 12 cents more a gallon you pay there.

Meanwhile, in Wyalusing it's costing you about 14 cents a mile—if you get decent mileage.

And that's the way it was, March 8, 2011. Happy motoring.

(Editor's Note: If I'd had to drive to all these locations to check out the prices Tuesday evening, it would have required at least a tankful of gas. Thanks to GasBuddy.com for saving us at least $50 on this story).

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