Gas prices could approach $3 per gallon by the summer

COLUMUBUS (WCMH) — On average, Ohioans are paying $5 more for a tank of gas than they were this time last year, and the price is expected to continue to rise.

AAA expects prices will rise as much as 70 cents per gallon by summer. When compared to last year, Ohio’s average price is already up 38 cents per gallon.

That’s an extra shot in the budget for small business owners like Eftchios Xanthoudakis, who owns Samaria Cafe in downtown Tampa, Florida. He says he didn’t benefit from last year’s lower gas prices.

“Most big companies we get supplies from charged us a fuel surcharge when gas prices went up, and they never took it back,” Xanthoudakis told NBC4 sister station WFLA.

AAA says prices historically bump up between February and Memorial Day as refineries power down.

“Last year gas prices rose 60 cents in 100 days, but we don’t anticipate a spike overnight,” says Mark Jenkins of AAA.

Spike or not, a 60 or 70 cent increase in gas prices means a lot to businesses like the Samaria Cafe, which gets all of its supplies from vendors. Xanthoudakis says even if gas prices do go up to three dollars a gallon, he won’t pass that cost along to the customers, and instead will take the hit himself.

“Every time they increase cost, we can’t pass that along to the customers,” says Xanthoudakis.

If there’s any good news, it’s that Ohio has the 11th lowest gas prices in the country with an average of $2.13 a gallon. The cheapest gas? South Carolina where its $2.02 a gallon on average.

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