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Be prepared to gasp at the gas pump

With fuel prices at many marinas already exceeding $2 per gallon, an industry expert says boaters can expect to pay top dollar to fill up through the busy summer months.

“We’re reaching unprecedented areas,” says Kevin Little of Onyx-Mansfield Energy Services in Gainesville, Ga. Onyx-Mansfield administers the fuel program of the Marina Operators Association of America. It also supplies several major marina customers around the United States, including the Flagship and Westrec chains, and Fort Lauderdale’s Bahia Mar.

Adjusted for inflation, Little says, fuel costs today are on par with those of the oil embargoes of the 1970s. He says the $1.75- to $1.80-per-gallon prices gasoline stations are charging motorists today are extremely high for early spring. Marinas typically mark prices up roughly 35 percent on the docks, he says, so most already are charging somewhere in the $2 range.

Unfortunately, Little sees no sign of dramatic improvement anytime soon. In fact, he says, “It wouldn’t surprise me to see prices at marinas approach the $3-per-gallon mark” during the summer, he says.