Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dropping Gas Prices

I just finished reading a news article on Reuters about how gas prices have taken a huge, record breaking, drop this past week. Good as this news is, it was interesting to note that average prices across most of the country still seems to be above $3/gal. See the excerpt below. For the whole article go here.

"In the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) weekly survey, gasoline was the most expensive on the West Coast $3.42 a gallon, down 15 cents. San Francisco had the highest city price at $3.60, down 12 cents.

The Gulf Coast had the lowest regional price at $2.99 a gallon, down 45 cents. Cleveland had the lowest city pump price, down 38 cents at $2.90.

The EIA also reported gasoline prices were down 29 cents at $3.46 in Chicago; down 12 cents at $3.44 in Los Angeles; down 30 cents at $3.38 in Miami; down 18 cents at $3.36 in Seattle; down 24 cents at $3.22 in Denver; down 24 cents at $3.16 in New York City; down 27 cents at $3.06 in Boston; and down 32 cents at $3.03 in Houston."

Some of those gas prices seem really high because unleaded at the Citgo across the corner from me is $2.71 a gallon. I'm guessing that the prices they took their averages from included those "we're on the corner of a highway and can charge an arm and a leg" prices of strategically located service stations. These averages were based on regular unleaded prices, not plus or premium, which are much higher. That reminds me of something my ex told me when we were engaged (he managed a gas station/store), "The difference between unleaded and premium is about $0.04/gal. to the retailer." When he told me this it was in '91 and gas prices were much lower. There was about a $0.20 difference for the customer at that time. Now, of course, it is higher and so is the difference.

My granddad owned and ran a Texaco service station for many years. It wasn't fancy, but the building was solidly built. And the pumps let you know how much you were spending with a nice ding every time the meter turned over another dollar. Back then you got about 3 gallons for a dollar. That the meters reminded you how much you were spending says something about the mindset of the country. People were careful with their money. I'm delighted to see gas prices dropping. I still wish we could go back to the days when the attitude was that folk were respected for their desire to economize, make their dollar go as far as it would, and retailers seemed more inclined to support this.


murat11 said...

I'm still bemused by the fact that, as the price of gas has dropped, our economy is "in crisis." Whose crisis?

I don't mean to be (completely) glib in asking the question, but the gas prices down / market lurchings disconnect just seems very odd to this completely untrained "dismal scientist." Most of us have been steadily going along, living the daily economic crisis (or not) for a good many years now, but only as the speculators begin to squeal does it become time for a "rescue."

To quote Vonnegut: "So it goes."

Lee said...

I don't know, Paschal. I guess crisis is an attitude that is relative to your situation.

A long time ago, in the late '70s, I heard a kid describe the new car his dad bought him for college as a "cheap piece of junk." It was a Firebird Trans Am. Makes me wonder what his first car after college was. I'd have given anything to have my Dad give me one of the family cars to use, never mind new.

To a certain extent this feels once again like the '80s where cost of living sky rocketed and incomes didn't keep pace.

But you're right! No one called it a crisis until the market started crashing. Before that it was merely a recession.

I wonder how long this crisis will last and what lessons we will learn, or perhaps relearn from it.


Jeni said...

About 4-6 weeks ago, gas prices here in central Pennsylvania were up around $4.00 a gallon but now, they are down to $2.90 a gallon. Hopefully, the price dropping will continue a bit longer too but I'm really happy that it is this low this week since I have to travel on Friday to Pittsburgh and my little Jeep isn't all that gentle on gas usage so will probably require two tanks full to get down there and back home again! Now, if they'd go down to below $2.00 a gallon, I'd really be ecstatic! OK, so sue me, I'm a dreamer!

Lee said...

Heh! I'd love to see gas prices that low too, Jeni! Hope they prices stay low your entire trip and that your Jeep runs its most economical. Safe journeying to you!

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

San said...

I've always noticed when I'm traveling that gas is lower in certain states like Texas and Oklahoma. This seems to be true now. We're paying about $3.19 right now, but SF tends to run a little higher than other places in NM.

Lee said...

San, prices and salaries in S. Texas are traditionally at least 10% below the country average.

With its excellent tourist industry I'm not surprised that Santa Fe has slightly higher gas prices.

Have you ever noticed the difference in gas prices between a wealthy neighborhood or area and near poverty one? The contrast is quite interesting.


Unknown said...

lee...this is my fist visit to your blog..very nice! I'll be back to read you again soon!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

Lee said...

Hi Airman Mom! Thanks for dropping in! You're welcome anytime!


GreenJello said...

Wow... I wish gas prices here in Utah would drop below $3.00 a gallon. I just filled up at $3.60/gallon, and it's not even decent octane! (85)


Lee said...

Well, greenjello, they are still dropping down here so perhaps they'll reach your below $3 vision before too much longer.

Thanks for popping in and commenting! I'll come visit shortly!

Peace! & Safe driving!