News Column

Gas Falls Below $3 a Gallon In Parts of US

Dec. 18, 2012

David A. Farrell

Gas

For the first time since February, 2011, gasoline prices in Pearl River County have dropped below $3 per gallon. It took gasoline prices one year and 10 months to get back to where it once was. During that time it peaked here during the Spring at $3.799 a gallon.

Local residents could not be more happy, because lower gas prices mean they'll have more money in their pockets to buy Christmas gifts.

Beginning on Friday and continuing over the weekend gas prices per gallon slid below the $3 per gallon mark. RaceTrac at Exit 4 on Interstate 59 in South Picayune posted $2.989 over the weekend and Murphy Oil at Wal-Mart and Bill's Quick Stop at East Canal and Mississippi Highway 43 South followed suit.

Those three, on a regular basis, all at Exit 4 on I-59, consistently post the lowest gas prices in Pearl River County. There are six gas stations located at Exit 4.

Experts that keep track of the oil industry and prices said the glut in supplies worldwide is the reason for the price declining right now. They warned that as a commodity, sold on international markets, the price is volatile and could go up as quickly, even more quickly than it drops.

The price per gallon at the pump is based on what refineries pay for a barrel of oil, which contains 55 gallons.

The price recently hit figures above $100 a barrel, which usually pushes gas prices at the pump above $3 per gallon.

Experts predicted in the Spring that gas would hit $5 per gallon during the summer, and it did in California, but prices broke nationwide shortly after the predictions were made, and prices fell to close to $3 per gallon, and then during the fall gradually fell to the current $2.989.

In October of 2010, two years one month ago, gas was $2.589 at RaceTrac. From there, however, it began a rise that continued until the Spring when it topped out here at $3.799 a gallon.

During one period, from October, 2010, to February, 2012, gas prices here jumped 22.6 percent a gallon.

The national average in December, 2010, according to The Associated Press, was $2.958.

Currently, the national average price per gallon fell 9.2 cents over last week to $3.248 a gallon this week. That's the lowest national average per gallon price since December, 2011, said AAA.

The price per gallon has fallen 16 percent since mid-September, experts said, and has fallen because of rising supplies of gas in the U.S.

This week, news reports said that Missouri posted the lowest price per gallon in the country at $2.959, and Hawaii the highest at $3.979.

California continued to wrestle with high abnormal prices as gas prices per gallon there jumped to above $5 per gallon in the Summer. Experts said a refinery fire caused the spike in prices on the West Coast.

This week was the first week that prices in all 50 states were below $4 a gallon, news reports said.

AAA reported that because of the dropping prices, more Americans were traveling by car during the holiday season, up 1.3 percent over the same time last year.

Copyright 2012 The Picayune Item. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Source: (c) 2012 Picayune Item (Picayune, Miss.)


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