Gas breaks $2 on island

AM/PM on the corner of Whidbey Avenue and Highway 20 traditionally has some of the cheapest gas on the island.

However, even their Arco gasoline is starting to cost a bundle as regular unleaded jumped four cents a gallon and broke the $2 barrier Monday.

With that increase, all gas stations on the island are charging more than $2 a gallon for regular unleaded.

These increases have left some drivers upset and questioning why gas prices have skyrocketed.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Oak Harbor resident Stan Alexander. “There’s no reason for this.”

Even though he owns a Suburban, he was filling his more fuel-efficient Pontiac Sunfire at AM/PM Tuesday morning.

Alexander added that he wouldn’t mind the price increase so much if he knew why it was necessary.

The price increase is also hurting folks who have to travel off the island for work personal reasons.

“I think it sucks,” said Oak Harbor resident, Shawn Cain.

He currently spends about $50 a week in gas to help pay for his commute from Oak Harbor to Everett where he works as a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society.

He questioned whether the commute will continue to be worthwhile, and said he may have to look for another job closer to home, especially if gas prices continue to increase.

Cain added he doesn’t want to move and pull his children out of the local schools, but there aren’t many jobs on the island.

Another AM/PM customer, Oak Harbor-resident Adam Keith, was filling up his truck for his regular trip down to Portland to see his son.

He said it costs him $70 in gas each time he makes the trip. Even more now, considering Monday’s price hike.

Another local resident had a case of sticker shock when she saw the price hike.

“I’m from Texas and I’m used to paying $1.60 a gallon,” said Jessica Ruby. The higher grade fuel recommended for her Dodge Ram 1500 adds even more to her gas bill.

While the AM/PM cracked $2 a gallon for the first time, other stations in the area have been charging that much or more for a while.

Prices at other stores in the area range from $2.07 a gallon to about $2.17 a gallon for regular unleaded gas.

Others aren’t happy about the price increases but don’t know what they can do about it.

“What I don’t understand is that no one has said anything,” said Clinton resident Del Lechelt, who was in Oak Harbor to do some shopping. “Nobody can do anything about it.”

Lechelt pointed out that gas is running about $2.09 a gallon in Clinton.

As the summer approaches, many are bracing themselves for further increases in gas prices.

Cain said he read that gas could be up to $3 a gallon by the end of the summer. Such an increase would make his commute, in which he drives to Everett via Mount Vernon, even more costly.

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