Fresno economist says falling gas prices a good sign and a bonus for local economy

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Almost across the country, consumers saw the lowest prices at the pump in more than 10 years this Labor Day weekend, and the lowest overall prices since this spring. (KFSN)

Consumers are pleased with the price at the gas pump; the lowest in Fresno is $2.79.
Almost across the country, consumers saw the lowest prices at the pump in more than 10 years this Labor Day weekend, and the lowest overall prices since this spring.

"Usually Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekends, you'll see gas prices spike, and this is definitely a harbinger of things to come I'm sure," said local economist Henry Nishimoto.

It's not often that Moises Ruiz can afford to fully fill up his tank. But at $2.79 a gallon at the Arco on Tulare Avenue, he can do that and more this holiday weekend.

"I save a lot of money for this weekend for the carne asada and for buy something in the store so it's very cheap now the price," Ruiz said.

"It frees up that money for other things and the other things would generally be going out for dinner, entertainment, school supplies, clothing and so that's good for the local economy as well," said Fresno economist Henry Nishimoto.

"Right now my PG&E is high, the bill, you know AC and all that," said Victoria Ibarra. "(So it's good) for my kids--yeah, for school, sports."

Tony Flores says he's saving $10 every time he fills up. That's money he can use toward painting his house.

"After that if there's anything left, I might take a trip," he said. "At least the gas will be fine."

"Cautiously optimistic," warns Nishimoto. "That's the right attitude because gasoline prices are going to spike up and down for a while, but it's a downward trend overall."

Nishimoto says we're driving the same amount, if not more than in years past. Supply is stagnant, but the demand for gas is lower because there are more fuel efficient cars on the road than ever before. That's created some of the lowest prices at the pump in months.

"(I) hope it goes down more," Flores said.

Ruiz has family in from Los Angeles. When gas prices spike on holidays, they can't always make the drive. But this time, they'll be able to enjoy their brother's carne asada.

Gasbuddy.com reports the lowest cost of gas in Fresno is $2.79, with the average being $3.15. That's about 10 cents lower than the state average.

The state's gas tax hasn't been increased in 20 years. But as part of the governor's new transportation budget proposal, the gas tax structure would be reworked and gas taxes could go up.
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