Gas prices fall

Photo by Vorani Khoonsrivong.

Gas prices are dropping.

The US average price for a gallon of gas is currently $3.14, a drop from this year’s high of $3.71, according to AAA.

Photo by Vorani Khoonsrivong.
Photo by Vorani Khoonsrivong.

States such as Missouri and Tennessee currently pay less than $3 with Humbold, Tennessee being the cheapest at $2.32 per gallon.

California’s average price for a gallon of gas as of Oct. 17 is $3.55 and the cheapest place to buy gas in Stockton is Quik Stop on Thornton Road at $3.19.  A gas station located on Bianchi Road is offering gas for $2.99 with a purhase of car wash ticket.

“Each individual [gas] station is in charge of setting the price.  The company owning the gas station assigns a dealer and the dealer resells the individual station a set price for the gas,” said March Lane 76 Owner Darrell Eppler.

While March Lane 76 is pricier than many of the other competitor stations in Stockton, the gas station does offer “happy hour” from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. where the price of gas is reduced by more than 40 cents.

Eppler was influenced by Walmart’s marketing strategy on lowering the price points.

“I call it ‘Night Time’ pricing or ‘Red Eye’ pricing.  I started three years ago thinking about how to market the gas station,” said Eppler.

He said he looked at Walmart’s strategy on how the store lowered its prices on merchandise and did the same with gas.

“The aim was to increase in volume and customer base. [Initially] I didn’t make money but as things got good, I made money and developed a good customer base,” he said.

He said he doesn’t make a “fortune,” but “it’s a good feeling when someone says thank you [because] I can do something special,” said Eppler.

This is great news for everyone but in particular, Delta College students benefit from the reduction.

“I’m not surprised that the prices are dropping.  This is great because now I’m able to save money,” said Delta College student, Rudy Un.

Un drives a 2001 Chrysler Sebring and spends $30 a week on gas. Spending $30 a week takes a toll on finances, according to Un.

Kopany Haney, another Delta College student, was surprised about the drop in gas prices.

“I’m surprised with the gas prices dropping because we’ve bordered $4 in the last couple of years,” said Haney.

Haney doesn’t drive but she is optimistic with the price dropping, the economy will do better as the holiday season approaches.

The question still remains: Why is gas so cheap and how long will it last?

The answer is simple: crude oil production.

Initially, many assume the political unrest occurring in the Middle East would cause the price of crude oil to increase since the Middle East controls a large sum of crude oil production.

Now domestic places like the Midwest, Pennsylvania and Texas are in an energy production boom and keep the global market stable with crude oil production, according to a report from U.S. News & World Report.

Essentially, the U.S. is relying less on foreign crude oil and producing domestic crude oil.

Producing domestic crude oil causes demand to drop, therefore the price drops as well.

In terms of how long will gas prices will continue to drop before they start peaking depends on a few situations, according to Delta College Economics Professor Joel Beutel.

“The U.S has oil to keep the overall market stable.  Supply is high and demand is low in places like Europe,” he said.

As for duration, Beutel gives it a year before gas prices begin to peak again.

One thing’s for certain: Enjoy the price of gas while it lasts.