Driving Down Gas Prices

July 28, 2008 10:21:34 PM PDT
Valley drivers are finding a little relief at the pump. Gas prices have dropped.Government figures show people are driving a lot less. The lower gas prices catch your attention but it's too early to tell if gas prices will fall for an extended period.

Down to $4.15 a gallon. Dennis Dever's actions were applauded by customers at the Valero Station at First and Gettysburg in north Fresno.

Dennis Dever, Valero Store Clerk: "Those are the kind of numbers people like to see you put up on the board aren't they? Yeah, now if we could just get that four off there at the beginning we'll be alright."

Customers say every little bit helps, a gallon of unleaded costs you an average of $4.32 in Fresno. A month ago it was $4.62. A year ago $3.09.

Natasha Fambles: "A little drop, a little drop. Not enough to still be happy about but a little better than before."

Analysts say a 22-dollar drop in the cost of a barrel oil is the main reason why our fuel prices have dipped. But there are other factors. The government says Americans drove 9.6 billion less miles in May 2008 than in many of last year.

Joe Sparano, Western States Petroleum: "All those things together work to help reduce demand and the type of economy we have when supply is steady or up and demand drops there usually is a price response."

The change in driving habits and the desire for more fuel-efficient cars also impacts our air quality.

Jaime Holt, Air Pollution Control District: "That totally validated the anecdotal evidence that we're seeing here in the valley. We're seeing people drive less. We're seeing more bicycles on the road. We're seeing more scooters on the road."

But analysts warn the downward trend in gas prices can quickly change. In the meantime, people say their fill-ups haven't been as painful.

Mona Ortega: "You ever think you'd see the day where you'd celebrate $4.15 a gallon? I remember it when it was 25-cents a gallon okay so this is little hard. This is a little hard okay."

Analysts say gas prices should remain steady or even drop a bit lower unless we have a major disruption in the oil supply.

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