It's a teeny bit reassuring to see Triangle average gas prices drift below $4 for the first time in almost a month -- to know that sub-$4 fuel is still possible. (Today's average for regular: $3.98 in the Triangle, $4.042 nationwide.)
During that awful surge from $3 in January to $4 in June, there were predictions that we'd hit $5 by July 4 and $6 by Labor Day.
It's easy to be pessimistic. If Hurricane Dolly had slapped the same Gulf refineries that got whacked 3 years ago by Katrina and Rita, we might have seen a 50-cent price spike over the course of a few days -- as we did during Labor Day week in 2005. This could still happen this summer. Worse could still happen.
For now, it's hard to know what to make of the huge variations in retail gas prices. Northcarolinagasprices.com, a Gas Buddy website, today shows regular selling at prices that range from $3.59 in Asheboro to $4.29 in Raeford. In the Triangle (raleighgasprices.com and durhamgasprices.com), the range is $3.79 to $4.19.