No fuelin’ — gas prices continue to fall

FILL ‘ER UP — Daren Danielson can drive up to a couple hundred miles a day for work, and said lower gas prices can help prevent higher costs for his customers.

With heavy driving season over, motorists are seeing some relief at the pump these days

By Per Peterson

The year was 1998.

Frank Sinatra died, the Broncos beat the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, President Bill Clinton publicly denies having sexual relations with Monica Lewinski, Bin Laden declared war against the U.S. and the price for a gallon of gas at Food-N-Fuel was 98.9¢, marking the first time in 20 years that gas went below $1 per gallon.

While we will likely never see it that low again, prices continue on a downward trend in the country, the state and here in Tracy. From $2.80, to $2.70, to $2.60, the price of gas in Tracy has dropped consistently over the last few months. It seems the cost has ticked down two or three cents on a daily basis at Tracy’s Casey’s General Store and went below $2.30 last week.

On Thursday, the price of a gallon of unleaded at Casey’s went from $2.27 to $2.25, then on Friday, it dipped to $2.23, then to $2.21 on Saturday. As of Tuesday afternoon, it remained $2.21, but diesel had fallen to $2.88.

Daren Danielson can put on up to 200 miles a day in the region while driving for Culligan. He said he’s glad to see gas prices on the downward trend.

“I think it’s good, because it’s going to make the customers not have to pay more for our prices going up for our delivery costs,” he said. “It definitely affects prices. Every year we have price increases — just like the cost of living goes up. If we’re not paying more in fuel to deliver, our prices won’t go up more.”

Danielson doesn’t personally keep track of gas prices, but his company does.

“Everything’s on a credit card, so they go through and see what we’re paying — that’s how they determine what our prices are going to be.”

The price of U.S. benchmark oil has plummeted about $20 in the last two months and that — along with the normal seasonal decline in overall driving hours — has resulted in a huge break at the pump.

The national average price for a gallon of gas on May 28 was $2.96; on November 12, it was $2.68, according to USA Today research. And locally, it gets even better.

According to GasBuddy, a company that tracks real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas stations across the U.S., Canada and Australia, gas prices have declined for seven straight weeks. The national average price for a gallon of gas last week was down nearly 8 cents a gallon to $2.50 — the lowest level since mid-March. Not only that, prices have dipped below the magical $2 mark in some stations in Texas, New York, Missouri, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan, Virginia, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois. The state with the lowest average gas price per gallon is Oklahoma at $2.15.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.