Residents reaping benefits of low gas prices


gas-guy

Gas prices are falling right along with the temperature and Clear Fork Valley residents couldn’t be happier.

Chipper Case, store manager at the Shell station on Mill Road in Bellville, said in recent months a lot of her customers are coming in and reminiscing about the past when gas prices were about as low as they are now.

“The customers love it,” she said. “They just think it’s great.”

Current gas prices are the cheapest in over 12 years, according to GasBuddy.com, a Web site that reports on fuel prices nationwide. In Bellville, regular unleaded was advertised as $1.39 at all five Bellville gas stations on Feb. 10, according to GasBuddy. The average for the state is $1.47 a gallon.

“As gasoline supply continues to bulge, prices continue to shrink,” says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Wholesale gasoline prices in the Midwest have lost more than half of their value since the beginning of the year and prices at the pump haven’t fully reflected that yet. Incredible as it sounds, we wouldn’t be shocked to see a few stations in these states as low as 99 cents a gallon.”

That’s just fine with C.J. Fields of Butler who stopped for fuel at the Shell station on Mill Road on Feb. 10. He said the low gas prices are “great” and “awesome” and added that now he can afford to buy the higher grade gasoline which makes his car run more smoothly.

“I can get more groceries with the money I save,” Fields said. “Instead of hamburger, I can eat steak.”

He said he used to spend about $30 when he stopped to get gas and still spends the same amount: before prices began to fall, that amount would get him a half tank; now it fills the tank.

GasBuddy reports that prices are falling because oil refiners are offering low prices to sell winter-spec gas before pending shift to cleaner burning fuel. Gas prices in Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas, and North Dakota have reached their lowest average point since 2004, according to GasBuddy.

Case said the only gasoline-related concern among customers has to do with getting change: they prepay for an amount of gas that is more than their tank can hold and have to make a second trip inside to get change or have their credit card purchase amended.

“We’ve been seeing that a lot,” she said. “But who wouldn’t like to come back in a get money back?”

She said that people seem to be filling up tanks in their second vehicles, as well as things like lawn mowers. Case added that she has seen an increase in the amount of gas sales but hasn’t really seen an increase in the number of customers or in retail sales in the store.

Industry expert says price could drop to 99 cents per gallon