Gas hits $4 per gallon

FREELAND — Gas prices topped $4 per gallon on the South End this past week and drivers were not happy.

“I think we need a revolution to overthrow the gas companies and oil companies and show them that it is ridiculous how they are controlling our lives because they can,” Katrina Whiteman said.

Whiteman of Clinton recently returned from Los Angeles, Calif.

“Right now, I can afford to drive to work but that may change if prices keep crawling up,” she said. “The lowest I ever saw as a driver was 99 cents. It makes me feel pretty sick.”

Pat Westling of Clinton pulled up to the gas pumps at the Texaco station in a large passenger van she uses to transport her handicapped husband and started filling her tank. At $60, the gas tank was not even half full.

“It’s outrageous having to pay these prices. The oil companies are making huge profits every day and we’re paying more than $4 a gallon,” she said.

Prices are climbing everywhere. The national average for price per gallon of unleaded regular gasoline is $3.87, $4.11 for mid-grade and $4.26 for premium gasoline, according to according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

A month ago, prices ranged from $3.53 to $3.88 for unleaded and premium and a year ago, a gallon of unleaded gas cost an average of $3.22 per gallon.

The highest gas price reported in metro areas of Washington state on Friday was in Bellingham, where a gallon of regular unleaded cost $4.

Dennis Bohling, a Freeland resident, said gas prices are still lower than what they are in Europe.

“We will be at where England and France are, which is between $8 and $12. It’s coming and we’re freaked out about $4. We are at the end of that for sure,” he said.

“Let’s get alternative fuels and not ethanol,” Bohling added.

Eriko Kamisasanki of Greenbank, remembers high foreign fuel prices from the time she lived in Japan. She’s also lived in California, where she paid $80 a week in gas for her SUV.

“Now it has gone up to $100. It’s almost like I am home,” she said.

Puda Ramirez drives a lot back and forth between Renton and Whidbey Island to work. He said he spends more than $300 every three weeks for fuel.

“My father lives in Mexico where they get paid $4 a day, and gas prices are rising there, too,” he said.

The highest price for gas on South Whidbey on Friday was at the Clinton Chevron; $4.09 per gallon for regular unleaded. The Texaco and Shell stations in Freeland and the Bayview Exxon were all charging $4.05 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

Candie McNeil works at Short Stop Texaco and people blame her and other workers there for the rising gas costs.

“Some people yell and get really upset, like it’s our fault for overcharging,” she said.

“We only make a couple of cents per gallon at the store. I am thinking I don’t know how I will be able to afford to go to work and I only live a few miles down the road.

I can’t afford my own gas,” McNeil added.

Diana Beck works at the Shell Shack nearby. She can remember working at her father’s Shell station in Everett when she was 12 and gasoline was 29 cents a gallon.

“I feel it’s outrageous; it’s ridiculous and I know from the news that I’ve seen so far, if you looked in your own back yard, you could pump your oil,” she said. “Truckers tell me they are going to go out of business.”

Beck estimated that by summer, gas prices could reach nearly $4.50 per gallon.

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