National average for gas prices down since summer

Crank up those engines and get ready to go. With nationwide gas prices gradually decreasing, now is the time to fill up your tanks.

The national average price for gas is $2.50, a 50 cent decrease since the end of summer, said Anna King, an economy analyst for Shell. Although prices are still up from a year ago, prices are at the lowest national average since March.

“Gas prices are expected to decrease, at least throughout the winter,” King said. 

The decline in gas prices can be attributed to a combination of three factors.

Sharon Moore, an assistant media representative for BP oil company, said, “There is an over supply of crude oil, making the price per barrel cheaper for refineries; the hurricane season has just about diminished, ending fears of hurricane damage to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries; and U.S. international affairs with countries such as Iran, one of our biggest oil suppliers, have de-escalated,” Moore said.

As a result of the decrease, it is typically expected that the sales of sports utility vehicles and other gas guzzling cars will increase.

However, Tim Grace, owner of TG Auto Group in Dallas, said there will not be an increase in sales until people know for sure that the decline in gas prices is permanent.

“Whenever a person purchases a vehicle, it is for long-term investment. If the decline in gas prices is only temporary, they are not going to base their purchase of a gas guzzling car on a temporary decrease of price,” Grace said.

Diamond Price, 19, a sophomore political science and pre-law major from Arlington, Texas almost let the uncertainty of gas prices deter her from buying a SUV.

“When I first started searching for a car, I fell in love with the Saturn Vue, however when I saw the high cost of gas this summer, my dreams were put to a halt,” Price said.

Price said she discussed the decision with her parents in the fall and bought the car anyway. “I felt that the gas prices would only go and up down and that the high cost of gas wasn’t reason enough for me not to have the car of my dreams.”

The steady sales of gas guzzling vehicles are not the only thing that has remained the same. In Tallahassee, many local service station attendants agreed that the decrease in the price of gas has had no significant influence on the purchase of mid-grade and premium grade gases.

“There has not been an increase in the sales of gas,” said Deandre Lewis, a station attendant for a Shell gas station in Tallahassee.

Lewis said the only reason people see difference in prices among gas stations is because ” some stations are closer to the highway, as well as have other significant location features that affect their pricing.

“Other stations also have branded gas and others do not.” Because some stations are not branded, a consumer never knows what kind of gas he or she is receiving,” Lewis said.

The price of gas has not affected what grade of gas I put into my car, said Lauren Collins, 19, a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Toledo, Ohio.

“No matter what the cost of gas is, I will continue to use mid-grade and premium gases in my car,” Collins said.

As the winter season approaches, students should start seeing prices as low as $1.98, King said. However, gas price fluctuation does not follow any distinct pattern and is subject to sudden increases or decreases at any time.