CRESTVIEW — Returning from a day of shopping at Silver Sands outlet mall and dinner in Destin last Saturday, Crestview resident Ken Campbell went to top up at the Raceway gas station in Shalimar.
He was surprised to find that instead of the fuel price being several cents less per gallon than it usually is in Crestview, it was 10 cents more expensive.
“I could’ve saved a buck and filled it up when we got home,” Campbell said. “It was $3.69 a gallon.”
Fort Walton Beach residents also saw hikes.
“They sure did jump in Fort Walton Beach,” Barbara Howze Hinote wrote on the News Bulletin’s Facebook page.
However, in the Crestview area, prices for regular-grade gas at Tom Thumb stores, which serve most residents’ fuel needs, remained steady at $3.59 during the last two weeks, despite the approaching storm.
Tom Thumb Senior Vice President David Daigle wouldn’t discuss the 10-cent discrepancy between the local convenience store chain’s north and south Okaloosa County locations, saying, “We don’t comment on gas pricing.”
In a May 2007 News Bulletin article, the company had explained south Okaloosa County’s usually lower gas prices by noting the longer distance needed to truck gas from the Niceville fuel terminal to the county’s north end. That gas comes by barge through the Intracoastal Waterway from a Pascagoula, Miss., refinery.
Whether local gas prices remain steady depends on an uninterrupted fuel flow from Mississippi. If the waterway remains rough in the wake of a storm, barges can’t run and fuel must be trucked from out-of-state refineries. That makes the price go up.”
Daigle said he was unsure of what prices will look like in the storm’s aftermath.
For Kelly Ross Fryman, of Crestview, that’s OK, because she always has a backup plan if prices rise.
“I never noticed (gas prices during Hurricane Isaac) because I was one that did not go nuts on buying a bunch of gas like some people do,” she said on the News Bulletin’s Facebook page.
“I figured, if I have to walk, so be it.”