'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the town, drivers were happy for gas was going down.
But then just days away from the visit by St. Nick, stations spiked it 40 cents and made everyone sick.
Central Kentucky drivers took to Twitter, Facebook and old-fashioned word of mouth to offer up some choice holiday greetings for service stations after the price of gas skyrocketed Wednesday.
"It sucks," said Richmond's David Keene, who warned his real feelings weren't fit to print in a family newspaper.
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"There is no crisis currently going on," he said as he filled up at the Speedway near University of Kentucky Hospital. "Gas prices should be going down.
"With the holiday, more people are going to be driving and buying it, so they should be making more profit anyway without having to raise the prices."
AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report pegged the Lexington metro area average at $3.27 per gallon of regular unleaded on Thursday. It was $3.059 at the start of Wednesday, before the spike began.
Many stations along prominent thoroughfares, though, were charging $3.399 early Thursday and $2.979 early Wednesday.
Gas prices also rose in other parts of the state, as the statewide average early Thursday was $3.184 for regular unleaded, according to AAA. The day before, it was $3.106.
Reached Thursday, a Speedway spokesman cited the price of crude oil, which has steadily increased throughout the week and is once again nearing $100 per barrel as it closed Thursday at $98.77.
"Crude prices at this time of year typically fall, but they have remained high," said spokesman Shane Pochard. "And holiday travel is like a mini summer driving season, so demand goes up.
"Because of that, gas prices are affected."
To Ashland resident Darren Davis, it's understandable, but still not of much comfort.
Davis, who was filling up at a Shell station on Thursday, said he works in the coal industry, so he understands the energy issues.
But, he noted, "I don't think anybody likes it ... there's just not a whole lot I can do about it."
There's also an alternative explanation for the price spike. It could simply be a phenomenon that's been under study by an Ohio State University economics professor.
Matt Lewis has said he's found, from his studies of retail gas price movements, characteristics exclusive to markets like Lexington that result in large price swings.
These kinds of markets, which also include Cincinnati, many cities in Indiana and other Midwestern towns, tend to have highly competitive service stations that attempt to undercut one another.
The stations slowly cut prices until they may be selling gas for less than their wholesale costs. When the stations recognize it, Lewis has said, they will increase prices and then continue to drop them by lower intervals over several days.
Indicative of that is the fact that some stations had already lowered prices Thursday by a few cents after Wednesday's jump.
The increase "sometimes happens regularly on certain days of the week," Lewis told the Herald-Leader during a past price spike.
Why the stations behave that way is unclear, Lewis said, noting that his research was in progress. He couldn't be reached Thursday, but his Web site notes some research results are forthcoming. He compared these kinds of markets to others, including some in Tennessee, that tend to see more stable pricing.
"They're not trying to undercut each other so much, and the prices are more stable," he said.