Gas Prices Are Lower in the Valley

August 2, 2008 12:03:06 AM PDT
Gas prices are a lot lower these days. But they're still a far cry from what they were a year ago. Last year in Fresno gas was $2.06 a gallon compared to $4.24 Friday. In Visalia a year ago it was $3.09. Today, Friday, it's $4.26 a gallon. And in the North Valley -- gas was $3.07 a gallon in Merced a year ago. Today, Friday, it is $4.23. The price of regular unleaded gasoline in the Valley has dropped an average of 15 to 20 cents a gallon. At a gas station in Madera regular costs $3.99. Drivers we spoke with aren't complaining.

Fresno's Dwight Harder said: "Gas impacts us all so it's nice to see it come down."

Be Cha from Fresno said: "Come down from five bucks that's great."

And Arnold Gonzalez from Madera said: "Whatever the case I think it's coming down and that's a good thing. So whatever they're doing it's working."

"Gas prices have always gone up and then they come down a little bit," said Henry Nishimoto.

Two main factors are reducing prices at the pump. Economist Henry Nishimoto said fewer people are on the road driving supply and demand down.

"According to the statistics I saw we're driving about 30 billion miles less this year than last year. And that's a significant drop in the amount of gasoline we're consuming," said Nishimoto.

The second reason people aren't complaining at the pump as much is because of crude oil prices. A barrel today costs about twenty dollars less than a month ago. And crude oil makes up 75% of the cost of a gallon of gas.

"So consumers, by watching what's going on in the crude market can get an idea," said Joe Sparano.

Gasoline industry expert Joe Sparano said California ranks 3rd in the world for most gasoline consumed. However Sparano said consumption's dropped steadily over the last couple of years.

Sparano: "In the last ten quarters each one of those quarterly consumption's has been less than the quarter the year before."

That's an average reduction of about one percent each quarter. Still drivers said they'd like to see the cost lower even more -- relieving the pain at the pump.

Cha said: "It's still too much. We got to bring it down more."

"It needs to drop another two bucks I think before we're all happy," said Gonzalez.

Two bucks isn't likely but gas prices could see another 15 to 20 cent drop by October. But enjoy that come January or February prices could rise back to where they were in mid-July.

Lowest Gas Prices in the Valley

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