Ill. motorists head to Ind. for cheaper gas

April 18, 2011 5:27:56 AM PDT
Gas prices jumped 4 cents in Chicago in one day and almost 10 cents in one week.

To avoid high gasoline prices in Illinois, some drivers are crossing state lines to save what they can. Illinois motorists Antionette Johnson and Warren Hamilton, for example, are trying to avoid high gas prices by filling up in northwest Indiana.

"We find that it's anywhere from $50 to $60 versus over $80 to fill up in Chicago," Johnson said.

"Since the gas got up to $3.50, everybody comes here all the time," Hamilton said.

The Marathon gas station in Hammond, Ind., has become popular as gas prices hover around $4 a gallon.

"What the gas costs us is what we charge the customer. We try to be as fair as possible," said Marathon gas station manager Dudley Paquette.

According to the Daily Fuel Gauge report, the highest recorded average price for regular unleaded gasoline in the Chicago area is $4.20 -- that's up 4 cents from Saturday and 51 cents more from just a month ago when gas was $3.69. Some analysts are predicting $5 a gallon gas by the summer driving months.

"As we get closer and closer to the summer demand season, if these numbers do not start to come down soon, the trend will tell us we will not get a whole lot of relief," said Beth Mosher with AAA Chicago.

Meanwhile, other drivers have starting cutting back, causing a drop in sales at gas pumps around the Chicago area.

"So we came into Chicago, and we were stunned at the gas prices here," said Velvet George, who is visiting Chicago.

This year gas prices have shot up because of the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and could hamper the economy's sluggish recovery.

"It's a measurable. You can feel it, you can see it, but it won't put in danger the recovery underway. But people are going to feel it still," said U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

While the hunt for cheaper gas continues, Indiana motorist Jon Tutton hopes some relief is in sight.

"It really puts a hurt on families, budgets, trying to save trips here and there. It makes you more conscious about how you spend your money," Tutton said.