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Friday, September 23, 2011 - 12:15pm

Gas Prices Down, Diesel Remains High

Gas prices in Georgia are down 11 cents since this time last month, and they have been falling consistently since May, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Around Georgia, the lowest gas prices are in the Augusta and Macon areas, where they’re 8 cents below the state average of $3.39 a gallon.

AAA Auto Club South’s Jessica Brady said debt worries in Europe and the U.S. are helping drive down prices and the sluggish economy is keeping demand in check.

“Even our travel projections for the summer holidays, while they weren’t bad, they weren’t great either. They remained relatively unchanged from last year, with slight decreases,” Brady said. “So it just goes to show, people really don’t have the funds right now to be out spending.”

While the price of gas is down, diesel fuel remains expensive, holding steady around $3.85 a gallon.

So it’s still costing a lot to fill up construction equipment, farm machinery and commercial trucks, and as a result, products that have to be transported by those trucks cost more.

Trucking companies can use fuel charges to customers to recover some of the higher costs, but not all of them.

“The problem with a fuel surcharge is that there’s compression involved,” said Ed Crowell, president and CEO of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. “The price goes up before we start to get a fuel surcharge paid, and it never covers entirely the price increase, so it cuts into profits and it does hurt the industry.”

Crowell said plenty of freight is moving in Georgia right now, so companies can add fuel surcharges. But he said when demand lessens and the economy is slow, it’s harder to tell customers they have to pay more for shipping because of fuel.

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