I might sound like my dad when I say this, but I remember the good ol' days when gas was 99 cents a gallon! I used to drive around until I found it for 97 cents. These days, if there is a 10 cent difference in price, it doesn't really matter. How much gas does that amount to when a gallon costs 3 bucks?

A "second gas price apocalypse," as one observer puts it, may be an exaggeration, but prices locally are flirting with $3 per gallon.

A trip through town showed prices for regular gasoline ranging from $2.85 per gallon at truck stops on the east edge of Amarillo to $3.09 at a Fina station at Southeast 26th Avenue and Canyon Drive. That's up about 30 cents from one year ago but far from the record of $3.98 in July 2008.

Local retail pricing is heavily influenced by events far from home.

"We should begin to prepare ourselves because we are entering a time of increasing populations and developing economies that grow fairly rapidly, and that's energy-intensive," said Amarillo economist Karr Ingham. "China and India will bid up prices, and we'll pay more. The stage appears to be set for higher prices."

There are innumerable factors that determine the price of crude oil, the main component of gas prices. Shutting down the leaking Trans Alaska Pipeline this week pushed up oil futures, as did heavy energy demand on the snow-blown East Coast, analysts said. But since oil trading is a day-to-day activity, the future course of prices is hard to gauge.

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It doesn't seem right when you think about it. Makes me wonder why we aren't drilling for oil in more places in the US.