Gas prices continue to fall
Melissa Dozier-Cason, FCT staff writer
With the price for a gallon of gas just pennies away from two dollars in Franklin County, other areas in Alabama are reporting gas prices in the one-nineties.
Madison, Decatur, and Haleyville are a few of the communities in North Alabama reporting gas prices below two dollars.
"In Madison and Decatur, gas will cost your $1.97, and $1.94 in Huntsville," Madison resident Rob McQuiry said while filling up at Murphy USA in Russellville.
On average the price of gas in Franklin County is about $2.03 per gallon, according to a roadside sign poll of seven stations in different areas of Franklin County.
"The prices will continue to drop over the next couple of weeks, and will probably stay low until March," Clay Ingram, AAA-Alabama, said.
The prices of oil tend to drop during January and February each year, and begin to climb again around spring break, when traveling tends to pick up, Ingram said.
"The break in prices is directly related to demand, and this year there is less demand for crude oil," Ingram said.
In the winter, people tend to stay home in an attempt to conserve energy. Also, the northeast part of the U.S. relies of heating oil, made from crude oil, to heat their homes. The Northeastern part of the country has had a milder than usual winter. All of these things in conjunction with a kind hurricane season are lowering the cost of oil, which lowers the cost of gas per gallon, Ingram said.
"All of the good things have fallen into place to get the gas prices down," Ingram said.
The big question is how far the prices will fall before rising again. The answer to this question will tell us how much the prices will rise in the summer, Ingram said.
"If the prices stay around $2 per gallon, we could see gas prices close to $3 again, but if the prices continue to drop, the average gas price in July could be around $2.50," Ingram said.
It is important to remember that gas prices are directly connected to demand, but there are two important tools that can be used to keep prices low, Ingram said.
The first tool is price shopping. Try to buy at the store with the lower cost, even if you seem to only be saving pennies.
"When we are willing to pass a station where gas is $1.90 per gallon to purchase at the next station for $2.20, that sends a message to the oil and gas industry that we are going to buy this product regardless of what the price is," Ingram said.
In contrast, buying gas at the cheaper location is clearly sending a message to the oil and gas companies that you are going to find the lowest amount, and that gives consumers power over the oil companies, Ingram said.
"After the hurricanes came, consumers stopped comparison shopping," Ingram said. "We have to go back to price shopping to gain our power back from the oil companies."
The second tool is fuel conservation.
"There are many ways to conserve fuel from running errands at once to automobile maintenance," Ingram said.