Locals plan protest of gas prices

Photo by Steven Senne

Photo by Steven Senne

CONYERS -- Local residents are expected to line the streets this weekend to protest high gas prices, but one expert organization offered motorists other ways to deal with the increased costs to come.

Local resident Josie Dean of the civic group Black Men Never Forget is leading the effort set for 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Chevron gas station located at 1776 Ga. Highway 138 on the corner of Flat Shoals Road.

Dean said fluctuating gas prices had been a concern over the last couple of years. Now, with talk that gas is going up to $4 or $5 a gallon, she said it was time to act. She described how some people "can't survive" if gas prices get too high.

"Someone's got to know that we're unhappy," Dean said.

It was former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister who recently predicted $5 gallon gas in 2012 if the country does not reduce its dependence on oil.

But AAA Auto Club South spokeswoman Jessica Brady told the Citizen on Tuesday it was "almost impossible" to forecast gas prices that far ahead.

"It's very difficult to predict where prices will be going out a couple months or more," Brady said.

Besides the cost of crude oil, there a lot of other factors that affect prices, "far too many factors," according to Brady. She pointed to supply and demand, a weak American dollar, and a possible bad hurricane season that may shut down oil refineries as just a few things that can spike gas prices.

Seasons have a lot to do with it, too.

"Once we hit springtime and go through the summer, it's very likely we will see retail gas prices increase," Brady said. "I would definitely not be concerned in the least bit by $4 a gallon gasoline."

She quoted between $3.35 and $3.75 this summer. She described the jump as routine and reminded that gas prices differ in various cities and states.

"It's possible we can hit $4 a gallon this summer. If we do, that will be short-lived," Brady said.

Brady offered public transportation as one alternative to shelling out more money at the pump.

"Unfortunately, we have to drive ... until we really reduce our dependence on oil, substantially, we're going to be paying these prices," Brady said.

Brady encouraged motorists to exercise fuel efficiency and make an effort to find the cheapest gas in their area. She referenced the AAA iPhone application, AAA TripTik, that finds cheap gas stations for travel planning. The app is available for free download.

Dean invited all residents to participate in Saturday's local protest and said there was a similar gas protest in DeKalb County a week ago. John Evans of the DeKalb County NAACP is expected to be present.

Dean said she received a permit last Friday from the city to have the public demonstration.

For more information, call 770-369-1507.