Cheapest Gas in Town

October 22, 2008 7:49:57 PM PDT
Economists say gas prices have fallen so fast, the nation has an extra 125 billion dollars to spend ... they're just not spending it.The average gas price in Fresno is 3.22 dollars, down 57 cents in just a month. It's down 56 cents in Merced and 55 cents in Visalia.

One local gas station claims it has the lowest prices in town, offering a gallon of regular unleaded at 2.89. Some people even came back for seconds and thirds to take advantage of the cheap price.

"I have to be at work at 11:30, so I'm putting in 20 dollars now, so when I get out of work I'll just come back," driver Alma Torres said.

"Oh the best price here, the best price in town! I looked at 20 to 40 gas stations here and the best price and I come to here, I live in Madera and come to here," driver Eres Maldanado said.

"I live close by here and so I see it everyday it's cheaper than anywhere else," driver Yesica Aguilar said.

Customers are rushing to TJ Food & Gas station at the corner of Maple and Church. Its owner, Daljit Giell, says he's making a sacrifice to keep his gas prices among the lowest in town.

"I make less profit and help the community," Giell said. Giell says he still makes money, but wants to take the lead in offering the cheapest gas. "People are going to drop whenever they see my price over here. If they see my prices drop, they're going to drop their prices, but not before me," Giell said.

Even after we spoke with Giell, he dropped his gas prices even further to 2.79 dollars. That was after he noticed a competitor cut his prices to 2.99 dollars. Experts say competition plays a major factor in driving costs up or down.

"If the station you're going to has a much lower price and it's in an area where there are 25 stations within a five square-mile radius, they're going to be competitive because they're fighting for the same customers," Western States Petroleum Association President Joe Sparano said.

Just across town in Clovis, gas stations were charging 3.39 for gas. Even though they're just a short distance apart, Sparano says the big difference in price has a lot to do with convenience store sales.

"Owners have different rents and operating costs due to the power they use, the number of people they employ or what they pay them," Sparano said.

Sparano adds that drivers might escape the typical price spike in November when refineries switch from the summer to winter blends. That's because suppliers are better prepared for the change.

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