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Gas prices expected to continue dropping, but higher tax looms

| Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, 12:41 a.m.
Celeste Van Kirk | Trib Total Media
Butch Padgelek of Ruffsdale takes advantage of the lower gasoline prices to fill up his vehicle at the Marathon station on Broadway in Scottdale on Monday, Dec. 29, 2014.

Gasoline prices are expected to continue to drop, at least through the end of the year.

But another wholesale tax increase on gasoline, passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Corbett in 2013, will go into effect, possibly raising the price of gasoline at the pump by another 9.5 cents per gallon.

However, with prices still falling, there may be little or no increase at the pump.

“Its hard to say whether the uncapping of the oil franchise will have an effect on the decline of gasoline. This is going to be phased in,” said Chelsea Pompeani, with West Penn AAA. “So at this point, it's hard to say. But AAA does project gas prices to fall another 10-plus cents by the new year.”

Dick Roberts, from the firm that handles public relations for Giant Eagle, the parent firm for GetGo fuel outlets, said he cannot speculate on the price of fuel going forward.

Bhaskar Reddy, owner of Reddy Sunoco A Plus on Memorial Blvd. in Connellsville, said he believes his customers are happy with the lower prices “because it should be like this.”

With prices more than a dollar less, he felt there would be no reaction to the wholesale gas tax increase.

“Ten cents makes no difference (to the customer,)” Reddy said Monday.

Jim Wadsworth, manager of the Sunoco station at the corner of Memorial Boulevard and McCormick Avenue, near Bud Murphy's, said his customers would probably not complain.

The price for unleaded regular at his station, owned by Graft Oil Co. of Connellsville, was $2.65 a gallon.

Eleanor Burkholder, 68, of Connellsville, who had pulled into that station, wasn't too happy when told of a possible increase because of the gasoline tax.

Neither was Anna Polyblank, 42, of Connellsville.

“It's better than before,” Polyblank said, but when told about the possible gasoline tax increase, added, “Oh, well, not good. My husband has to drive to get to work.”

Attempts on Monday to contact the corporate headquarters for Sheetz and Martin's were not successful.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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