Published: March 16, 2008
Kristy Dailey spent $75 Thursday to fill up the tank on her Dodge Durango at Dodge’s Store on Broad Street.
Dailey said she’s driving less with gas prices topping $3 a gallon and a barrel of oil breaking high record prices daily. Thursday saw a barrel fetching more than $110 in overseas markets.
Rising oil prices can be seen at gas stations around Murfreesboro with gallons ranging in price from $3.05 to $3.20 for regular gasoline.
“You can’t even get half a tank with $20 now,” Dailey said.
“With Easter coming up, and I’ve got family in Atlanta,” she said, “we’re riding down with my brother so we can combine gas money.”
Dailey isn’t alone.
The average Rutherford countian spends 25 minutes in the car commuting to work daily, according to the latest Census Bureau American Community Survey.
Many drive the 30 miles into Nashville, and more are opting for public transportation.
Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority runs a Relax and Ride route from Murfreesboro to downtown Nashville for $2.50 one way.
“That particular route has seen an increase in ridership in the last few months,” said Patricia Harris-Morehead, MTA communications director.
Between January 2007 and January 2008, monthly riders have increased by one-third from 4,402 to 6,621.
Rover, Murfreesboro’s public transportation, on the other hand, hasn’t seen a significant increase in riders, which Public Transportation Director Bob Nugent attributes to gradual increases in gas prices.
“I know it may be surprising, but we have not noticed an increase that can be directly attributed to gas prices. Transit ridership will usually increase when there are dramatic increases in prices …” Nugent said. “There is, however, a pain threshold that will sooner or later be realized as the prices continue to climb.”
Nugent then noted that Rover can save drivers around $80 per month, after subtracting bus fare from the average cost of gas and car maintenance.
Drivers are looking for other ways to save money at the pump.
Swifty’s Gasoline on Memorial Boulevard, which has some of the cheapest gas in town, has seen an increase in traffic through its parking lot.
“We’re seeing a lot of people in. We have a lot of repeat customers but a lot of new ones coming in the past week or so,” Manager Jeff Green said, noting about 1,000 cars a day fill up at the station.
Local Kroger stores, which also sell discounted gasoline, haven’t seen fuel sales increase as much as customers taking advantage of other offers, Nashville area Kroger Spokesperson Melissa Eads said.
“We’re really seeing people take advantage of the fuel savings. We’ve also had a lot of customers apply for the Kroger credit card,” she said.
Kroger offers Kroger Plus members a 3-cent discount on gas purchases, a 10-cent discount if customers spend more than $100 on groceries and a 15-cent discount for Kroger credit card holders who spend more than $100 on groceries.
“They’re looking for every way they can to save and they’re taking advantage of those programs,” Eads said.
Dailey is trying to find other ways to save money on gas, like driving less.
“My husband just goes back and forth to work,” she said, noting she does all her shopping at Wal-Mart now because she can get it done there with one stop.
“We’re not getting out as much,” she said.