Lower gas prices offer relief as holidays approach

Published 9:20 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As the holiday season approaches, residents are feeling the impact of gas prices. Only this time, it’s a good thing.

With the state average falling Wednesday at $2.01 per gallon, many more have said this holiday season will be a lot smoother.

“It’s really going to help me because gas here is still cheaper than gas at my home in Florida,” said Megan Brunson, a Troy University student from Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.

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And aside from just traveling for Thanksgiving and Christmas, others said in general they’ve been able to take more vacations.

“I live in Troy, but I travel weekly to Birmingham four days a week, and I’m been traveling more and shopping more,” said Willie Williams, Jr. “I pray they stay down.”

For others, long-distance driving is part of their job, and the savings since gas has dropped more than $2 per gallon are helpful when other prices haven’t been dropping.

“It sure helps going to work back and forth from Troy to Montgomery everyday,” said Leroy Wambles, of Troy.

And the good news is, it looks like these lower prices may be here to stay for a while, said Alabama AAA Spokesman Clay Ingram.

“The vast majority of gas stations across the state are below $2 a gallon, and I think we’ll stay below that during Thanksgiving and then drop more in December and continue to drop in January and February,” Ingram said.

But, he said he isn’t sure how much.

“It kind of depends on what crude oil futures and gasoline wholesale futures continue to do,” Ingram said. “It’s entirely possible we could be in the $1.60s in the next four weeks. Possible, I can’t say it’s probable.”

Ingram said it isn’t just one thing driving down fuel prices in a time when other prices are rising.

The main attributer he gives is overall fuel conservation.

“We’ve just done such a great job this year of conserving fuel. We are now reaping the benefits of our fuel conservation,” Ingram said. “Here is the cold, hard proof right here.”

And with other economic situations not as pleasant as dropping fuel prices, Ingram said he thinks people have found driving is one area many can cut back in.

“When we get in this kind of economic situation, people are looking anywhere and everywhere to cut back,” Ingram said.

Ingram said just because prices are dropping, doesn’t mean people shouldn’t conserve fuel when they can.

“It will help our prices stay a lot lower between now and February, and it will minimize the price increase we see in the next year,” Ingram said.