As if being outdoors filling their gas tank wasn't tough enough, KELOLAND motorists were also greeted by the cold reality of a price hike. Prices have climbed anywhere from a nickel to a dime per gallon. But is the jump at the pump a conspiracy of the cold?
Business picks up when the temperatures turn bitterly cold. That's because customers don't want their gas lines freezing-up because there's not enough gas in the tank. But customers tend to do a slow burn when prices rise as the temperatures fall.
Rodney Kirstein of Bozeman, Montana said, "I think it's a little ridiculous but I think it's a price we all got to pay, I guess. You've got to deal with it."
Mary Wallace of Sioux Falls said, "They go up and down a lot, but it doesn't make anybody happy."
The rise in gas prices is especially troubling to people who have long-distance commutes in the cold.
Ann Roberts of Spencer, South Dakota said, "It gets expensive going back and forth, I live in Spencer so I come over weekly with my daughter and it adds up, we almost feel we need a smaller vehicle."
Customers find it unsettling that gas prices rise at the same time temperatures drop. But gas station managers say this convergence is merely coincidence.
Heather Boysen of Taylor's Pantry said, "Cold weather in the Midwest doesn't necessarily translate into what's happening in reference down in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, places like that where we actually get our gas coming up through the pipeline."
Experts say this latest price hike is likely the result of the ongoing violence in Iraq, not turbulent temperatures. But the cold weather has an added nip in the air with fuel prices take a bigger bite out of budgets.