‘Hurting me real bad’: Gas prices squeeze county drivers
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
Taft Fore of Darlington was looking at a gas pump at Fastrack on South Main Street last Wednesday.
Fore had just topped off the tank in his pickup truck and filled up two gas cans to run his lawn mower. The total cost on the pump: $57 and change.
“You don’t have much choice,” said Fore. “So I’ve got to sacrifice – cut down on my medicine, cut down on our food, just to get to and from the station to get the medicine and the food.”
“I’ve got to cut down on everything,” he said. “It’s hurting me real bad. From the pocketbook to the heart.”
On this day, a spot check by the News & Press found the cost of regular unleaded gas in the Darlington area seemed to be averaging about $4.14 per gallon.
The average for the entire state of South Carolina was running $4.02; in North Carolina, the statewide average was $4.12. The national average: $4.25.
By the next day, Thursday, the national average had hit $4.32 a gallon.
Why the spike in gas prices, with no end in sight? Some blame the wave of inflation that has followed the COVID pandemic. Some blame the United States’ decision to cut off importing Russian gasoline to punish Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. Some blame President Joe Biden’s overall economic policies and leadership.
Fore puts most of the responsibility on Russia, and he worries it will get worse. Fore said he planned to fill up some 20-gallon drums at his house immediately as a precaution. “Everybody’s not into a panic mood,” he said, “but it’s almost there.”
The News & Press asked its Facebook readers for comment on the surging gas prices. Some of the responses:
— “(I’m) driving to work, daughter driving to high school and son driving to college. Gas expense is really adding up.”
— “Fill up every Friday. Last day Trump was in office, $1.59 (a) gallon, 20 gallons, $32. This past Friday, 20 gallons, $3.99 a gallon, $80.”
— “$112 to fill up my F-150 King Ranch, and I’m seeing a back surgeon in Charleston.”
— “Paying a little more for gas is a small sacrifice to make, considering what the people of Ukraine are going through right now.”
— “$60 didn’t fill my truck up.”
— “Russia is not to blame. Liberal Democrats are. Especially Biden with his executive orders shutting down (the) Keystone pipeline, stopping oil leases in U.S., adding onerous regulations on energy and last but not least, allowing Russia to open (a) pipeline.”
— “I can’t afford to drive.”
Last week, one state lawmaker – Rep. Russell Fry, R-Horry – proposed suspending the state’s gas tax to help provide residents with some relief.