Opinion: Pump pain is real for many area drivers

Staff photo by Jay Greeson/Rochelle Parker

Rochelle Parker of Brainerd: “I hardly go out and do nothing more than work and come home.”

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Staff photo by Jay Greeson/Tricia Blair

Tricia Blair, of Ringgold, Georgia: “Our gas (expenses) have doubled, so we’re only using two cars for every three drivers in our household.”

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Staff photo by Jay Greeson/Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker of Chattanooga: “There’s nothing else, but I have less disposable income right now, that’s for sure.”

No matter where you go or who you talk to, you can’t get around the heat these days.

Perhaps the scorching temperatures that have Earth-roaming devil’s minions seeking shade and yearning for home.

Maybe the Atlanta Braves, who are undefeated in June.

Or it could be soaring gas prices that are making us all hot under the collar.

Motorists filling up at five gas stations in five parts of Hamilton County this week said the pain at the pump was all too real. And that makes them really hot.

“This is outrageous,” Rochelle Parker said as she pumped $4.29 a gallon unleaded at Circle K on East Brainerd Road.

Chattanooga Times Free Press editor Dave Flessner recently reported that average fuel prices in Chattanooga jumped 15.8 cents per gallon for regular gasoline to a record high of $4.55 per gallon. . Local gasoline prices have risen nearly 45 cents per gallon over the past month and are now $1.80 per gallon above where they were at the start of the summer travel season a year ago, he wrote.

Parker said she drove to her mom’s house every morning to work at McKee Foods because Parker’s car was running premium, which is north of $5 a gallon these days.

She was one of the few residents in the area who reported managing fuel costs through car swaps or carpooling.

“We have three drivers and only use two cars,” Ringgold’s Tricia Blair said as she pumped petrol at Ooltewah market, where unleaded was $4.45 a gallon. “We can’t afford to keep three cars on the road. I work in home health care, so I have to drive. My son (Carson) and his buddies take turns driving, and my husband carpools to go to work when he can.

Andrew Walker, who works at Mark Spain Realty, normally drives his truck. Not now. He drives his girlfriend’s Hyundai because it uses much less gas than the truck.

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“Yeah, I’m grateful she’s letting me borrow it,” he said as he filled up at Weigel’s on Highway 153, where you could buy unleaded for the lowest number. which I’ve seen at $4.19 a gallon — and $4.09 with a club card from Weigel. “I haven’t really changed my trips (this summer), but I hadn’t planned any.”

For Terry Smith, who got just over 3 gallons for $15 at the Speedway on Highway 58 — where unleaded was $4.57 — the prices are mind-blowing. But she takes the big increases in stride and keeps the budget squeeze in perspective.

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“I just try to go with the flow,” said Smith, who lives in Collegedale. “We all have to have gas. So I’m not going to worry about that.

It’s an easy-going approach. Maybe Terry is a big Braves fan.

Contact Jay Greeson at [email protected] or 423-757-6273. Follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp.

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Jay Greson

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