Santa Fe gas prices dropped below $3 per gallon for regular gasoline at a number of stations Friday morning, and while consumers are thrilled, they're still leery of what's to come.
"I don't know how long it's going to last," said Neil Weber, who purchased gas for $2.98 per gallon on Friday at Allsup's, 650 Cerrillos Road. In addition to the truck he was filling up, Weber said he also drives a hybrid vehicle. He estimated he spends about $200 a month on gas. Weber said he uses the smartphone app Gas Buddy to find cheap gas prices around the city.
As of Friday afternoon, the lowest price in town was $2.95 at Sam's Club, 4201 Rodeo Road, and the highest was $3.39 per gallon at the Chevron located at 52 Old Las Vegas Highway, according to Gas Buddy. The app listed the average price for gas in the city at about $3.09 per gallon, which is up 21 cents from the average of $2.88 per gallon this time last year. AAA listed the national average at about $3.38, which is up 11 cents from the $3.27 average this time last year.
The lowest Albuquerque price was $2.98, with an average of $3.16, according to Gas Buddy.
AAA spokesperson Doug Shupe said the continuing drop in gas prices can be attributed to low demand and the major refineries' switch from the more expensive summertime fuel to the cheaper winter blend.
Shupe also said AAA believed prices would continue to sink as the holidays get closer. He added that the average New Mexican family pays about $46 to fill a 14-gallon tank.
Charlie Brewer, owner of the Brewer gas stations in Santa Fe, said wholesale gas prices are going down, but the rapid price drop may be the result of a new gas company in town trying to build a customer base. The new station has low prices, causing other stations to cut prices, Brewer said. He declined to share which company he referred to, but the only new station in town is Murphy USA at 4550 Cerrillos Road.
Brewer said the price war would eventually end, but he couldn't say when. Representatives for Murphy USA could not be reached Friday afternoon, and the station wasn't listed on the Gas Buddy index.
Regardless of the effect, customers are reaping the benefits of lower prices. Angela Maes, who filled up a midsize sedan Friday, said the lower prices are especially beneficial to her because she commutes about 70 miles daily from Pecos. She echoed Weber's sentiment, wondering how long the low prices might last.
Another Allsup's customer, Gary Malczewksi, said while he appreciates the drop, he would like to see gas prices fall even more. Malczewski added he usually buys gas from the Smith's station off Cerrillos Road because of the discount he gets from grocery shopping.
"I know gas is expensive," he said while filling up his van. "Two bucks would be more affordable for everyone."
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