ANDERSON — While her kids are looking forward to scary amusement park rides this summer, Amy Jones is worried about scary gas prices.
Jones, her fiance and three sons are planning a road trip to Kings Island, which is a 150-mile trip. But if she has to shell out close to $4 a gallon for gas like last summer, she said, "they're going to have to dig in their pockets, if they still want to go."
"We're driving my truck," she said, fueling up at a Ricker's station in downtown Anderson. "We'll use a lot (of gas)."
But $4 gas isn't likely to happen this summer — at least not in the Midwest, according to Purdue University agricultural economist, Wally Tyner.
He's calling for regional gas prices between $3.50 and $3.90 per gallon over the next few months, slightly lower than in summer 2012.
"That certainly could change if something unforeseen happens," he said, such as some significant world event or a refinery outage. "But I don't expect prices over $4, except on the West Coast."
That's good news for Jones and millions of others planning to hit the road between May and August, the busiest travel months, according to Quinn Ricker, president of Ricker's fuel.
And it's good news for Ricker's, too.
"We want lower fuel prices," he said. "When prices are lower, credit card fees are lower and people drive more. We make more money when the price is lower vs. higher. The public would probably assume the opposite."
This summer, AAA estimates the average road-tripping family will travel 600 to 700 miles from home. If your family car gets an average 20 miles per gallon, Tyner's projections could mean a round-trip gas tab as low as $210.
As far as Jones is concerned, that sounds pretty good. "That ($3.50 per gallon) is low enough to say 'let's go,'" she said.