People pulling up to gas pumps this week are seeing something they haven’t seen in years.
People pulling up to gas pumps this week are seeing something they haven’t seen in years — the fastest decline in gasoline prices since 2008.
AAA Carolinas reports the average gas price in North Carolina is now 11 cents less than seven days ago.
The last time gas prices dropped more than 11 cents a gallon for self-serve regular unleaded was the week of Nov. 25 through Dec. 1, 2008, when gas prices fell 15 cents in North Carolina.
Carol Jordan was taking advantage of the lower prices Thursday at Fuel Warehouse, where a gallon of unleaded cost $3.49.
“I like it,” she said as she started filling up her Acadia. “I’m not traveling any more than normal but it is nice to see it coming down.”
Jordan said she was hopeful prices would continue falling. When the prices were hovering near $4 a gallon a couple of months ago, it cost her about $80 to fill up her SUV. Thursday it cost her $63.53.
“I have another vehicle that takes premium and that is outrageous,” she said. “I’d like to see the prices even lower. But they are moving in the right direction, going down instead of up.”
The average price for a gallon of gasoline in North Carolina is now $3.58, compared to $3.69 one week ago. Gas prices have dropped 27 cents since Sept. 14, when it was $3.85. But motorists are still paying 15 cents more than they did on this date one year ago and have been paying more in 2012 than in 2011 since Aug. 15 of this year, AAA Carolinas reports.
Tom Crosby, vice president of communications for AAA Carolinas, said there were a couple of factors causing the decline in gasoline prices.
“People are driving less and that normally happens in the fall,” Crosby said. “The demand drops along with the temperatures.”
Another big factor is the struggling economy in Europe and slowing of third world economies, he said.
“That strengthens the dollar,” Crosby said. “Our economy is stable and improving a little. We are not suffering like Europe. That means people in Europe are not investing in oil futures. When they do, it drives up the price of crude oil and we pay more at the pump.”
Crosby said he thinks the price of gasoline will continue trending downward.
“How fast or slow or far it will go, no one knows,” he said. “I think it will stabilize and start to inch back up around Thanksgiving. But the prognosis is the gas prices are heading in the right direction.”
David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas, said the price drop is great news for drivers.
“However, the nature of gas pricing today mostly depends upon issues outside the U.S, like armed conflicts in oil-producing nations, the dollar’s value against the Euro and the demand for oil in developing countries like China, India and Brazil,” Parsons said in a press release.
Events that could halt the decline in gasoline prices include a disruption in supply, the threat of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico or escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, according to AAA Carolinas.
Wendy Fisher, president and owner of Fisher Oil Co., said prices have fallen at its 12 convenience stores in Craven County and one in Carteret County her company supplies gasoline to.
Prices have fallen at other convenience stores in Craven County that Fisher Oil does not supply, including five Wilco Hess and five Handy Mart convenience stores.
“We get prices daily and never know what the cost will be any more than anyone else does,” she said. “The cost comes from the suppliers in Selma. That and the competition determine the price.”
But for now the prices are falling, she said.
“We love the lower prices,” she said. “It is better for us and better for the consumers. It is better for everybody.”
Greensboro/Winston Salem/High Point has the state’s lowest average price for a gallon of gas at $3.53; Asheville is highest at $3.67, according to AAA Carolinas.
In South Carolina, gas prices have fallen to $3.36, the fourth lowest in the country; a week ago, it was $3.48, AAA Carolinas reports.