Gas Prices Have Northwest Arkansans Making Changes

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People all across the country and right here in our area are paying more at the pump. In several states, prices are pushing past $4.00, and in just the last week, the national average has jumped more than 13 cents.

Luckily prices here are not as high as the national average. But people and local businesses we spoke with say it's still been hard to keep up.

Filling up at the gas station is costing more and more here in Arkansas.

"See this?" asks Patton Hughes. "I just filled it up. $76.00 right now. It's not good for my budget."

In just the last week prices have jumped 10 cents a gallon to an average of $3.53. Rachael Barker says she's noticing her money doesn't stretch like it used to.

"I got up this morning and I put $10.00 in my tank and it's already gone," Barker says. "And we only drove to Springdale and back to Fayetteville."

The rise has been continuous. Just one month ago, the average was about 30 cents per gallon lower. And a year ago the average was about 27 cents lower.

For Wanbli Gamache, who delivers pizza's at Damgoode Pies, it's taking a chunk out of his check.

"I'm spending about $30 a week," Gamache says. "And that only because I have a smaller car and I actually can afford it. Some other people with bigger cars are having an even harder time. And that's almost a whole shift for me. I lose one shift just to the gas prices."

Gamache says as gas prices rises, delivery fees may rise as well which could mean a drop in business.

"People when they see that delivery fee rise they are less inclined to give us a tip. The delivery fee is our gas money; we don't get extra money from that. It's basically what we have to get there."

Experts say Middle East unrest and speculation driving crude oil prices higher are pushing prices. And many are not optimistic things will change.

"I don't see it going back down," Barker says. "So I'm getting used to it and trying to deal with it the best I can."

And even though prices are up all across the state, the 13 cent jump in Northwest Arkansas and in the River Valley is the highest in the state.

Here's a look at gas prices in our area. The average in Arkansas sits at $3.53 right now. In Northwest Arkansas, you'll pay less at $3.48 up two cents from just Sunday. The River Valley average sits at $3.51.

According to AAA Arkansas prices are among the lowest in the country.

Some of the highest states are California, Alaska and Hawaii, all with averages above $4.00.