Gas pump woes far from over

Last November New Jersey residents faced, overnight, a 23 cent increase in the cost of a gallon of gas, thanks to a tax, heartily endorsed by Sussex County’s state Sen. Steve Oroho, that brought the state from having one of the lowest gas prices to one of the highest. The tax is flexible and could rise under certain conditions.

pumping-gas-450.jpgThis month, the average price of a gallon of gas rose an additional 14 cents, and the end is not in sight.

"Between President's Day and Memorial Day, we'll see gas prices spike, the question is by how much," predicts Tom Kloza, a global petroleum expert with the Oil Price Information Service. "I think 50 cents is reasonable, it may spike to $2.85."

One reason is a decision by OPEC countries to cut production; other factors, especially unpredictable events in the Middle East, could cause further upticks.

Aside from an increasing financial burden on state residents (not just drivers, as public transportation and the trucks that transport food and other goods are affected, the spike in petroleum-based fuels will likely trigger demand for more domestically produced energy, such as derived from shale by fracking; the new administration has already indicated it will try its best to deregulate such environmentally unsound practices.

Without the Oroho-endorsed gas tax the state’s residents, and particularly workers with long commutes (such as Sussex County’s 22,000 people who are employed outside the county) would have less of a hardship as events outside the state’s control continue to push prices upward.