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The awesome power of the hurricane-force winds didn't just pummel trees and power lines over the weekend. It also helped batter bankrolls at the gas pump.
Many oil refineries in Texas and Louisiana were still feeling the effects of Hurricane Gustav from a few weeks ago, and when Hurricane Ike blew through, gas prices blew up in anticipation of further damage to oil rigs, refineries and power outages.
According to a survey by AAA, Kentucky is one of twelve states reporting gas prices above $4 a gallon. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Kentucky was $3.98 on Thursday, 15 cents higher than AAA's national average.
Though prices are high, Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty said the city is lucky because it hasn't suffered a lack of fuel.
"We need fuel like any organization does," Hardesty said. "We need to run our machines - police, fire public works, they all need it.
"Fortunately, we haven't had outage problems here like they've had in Louisville."
Like several of the southern states, Louisville had dozens of gas stations without power earlier in the week, causing drivers to crowd into the functioning stations, draining those of their supplies.
Here in Shelby County rumors spread of gas prices soaring to $5 a gallon, one local gas station attendant said. As a result, Shelby Countians sat in lines of cars waiting to get gas over the weekend.
"People freaked out," the attendant said.
Gas at the Thorntons on Midland Trail rose last week from $3.65 per gallon Thursday to $3.85 Friday, then up to $3.99 on Saturday. The Pilot Truck Stop in Simpsonville eclipsed $4 on Saturday. Several stations in Jefferson County were charging as high as $4.15. Many were offering slight discounts for cash or debit payment.
During the past few days, prices had subsided a bit, with Thornton's down to $3.87 on Thursday.
No matter, most drivers say that prices aren't reasonable.
Debbie Cecil of LaGrange said she feels the impact of gas prices every day on her commute to Shelbyville for work. When she factors in all of her other driving, she estimates she travels 400-500 miles a week, which translates to some big money at the pump.
With the price of oil falling back to $90 a barrel earlier this week, the lowest since February, Cecil said it doesn't make sense that gas prices haven't been dropping at a matching rate.
"If the price of oil is down, why aren't gas prices?" she asked.
She's not alone in that thought.
Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency on Sunday, giving Attorney General Jack Conway the authority to investigate the thousands of complaints like Cecil's that his office has received about gas gouging.
Investigators are looking at whether the high gas costs are legitimate or merely a way for the stations to take advantage of people and make more money.
"Why are we paying more?" Cecil asked as she filled her tank. "If it's not price gouging, what do you call that?"
Police adjust for fuel costs
Rising fuel costs have also affected the way that some law- enforcement agencies have been operating.
Although Shelbyville Police say that they have been conducting business as usual, the state police say they have been forced to make some changes.
"Since each of our troopers drives an average of 3,000 miles per month, we have had to come up with some creative ways to save gas," Kentucky State Police Captain Mike Crawford said.
In July, KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer introduced a fuel conservation enforcement campaign called Operation Safe CHECK, which stands for Concentrated Highway Enforcement Checkpoints.
The goal of the campaign was to reduce the number of roving patrols while increasing visibility. Brewer said the reasoning was to deter car crashes and conserve fuel at the same time.
"Earlier this summer, I challenged the posts to reduce the number of roving patrols and increase stationary patrols by coordinating 1,103 safety road checks statewide," he said.
Crawford added that high-accident areas and high-call areas were chosen as locations for the checkpoints.
"Instead of me coming to look for you, now you're coming to us," he said.
He said that the numbers of violations made through checkpoints has surpassed even those made by patrolling troopers.
"We've had the opportunity to impact a lot more people this way," he said. "The checkpoints have caused a boost in our numbers."
In addition to increasing the number of citations written, the checkpoint program has reduced the number of miles driven per trooper from 3,000 to 2,300 miles per month, Crawford said.
"So not only have we increased our number of citations, but we have saved money and fuel. Another plus is that we have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the public. A lot people have told us they are glad to see us here."
Brewer reported that since July 1, KSP's uniformed fleet reduced fuel usage by 3,770 gallons, saving the agency $14,000 in fuel costs.
He added that KSP would keep trying to save gas while keeping citizens safe.
"Regardless of fuel costs, we will continue to provide protection to the Commonwealth while seeking alternative methods to reduce fuel consumption," he said.
KSP checkpoint results
342 DUI arrests
405 seat belt violations
120 child restraint violations
129 drug arrests
254 suspended license violations
422 other arrests
4 stolen vehicles recovered
35,985 vehicle safety inspections performed