Gas drops below $2

Published 9:08 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

For the first time in nearly two years, gas in Covington County is less than $2 a gallon.

Pumps at several local convenience stores showed $1.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline Thursday.

Historically, the last time gas was offered locally at the current price was in January 2007. It is still nearly 18 cents below the state average according to the American Automobile Association’s Fuel Gauge Report, which on Thursday, put the average price per gallon for regular unleaded in Alabama at $2.16 compared to the price a year ago of $3.03.

Oil prices slid to near $55 a barrel Thursday, but on Wednesday, it was reported that retail gasoline prices dipped for a 17th week since July 4, falling below $2 a gallon in a number of states and approaching $1.50 at some service stations. The price of crude fell again too, hitting a 20-month low.

The Associated Press reported that this most recent drop comes after the International Energy Agency announced new cuts to its global oil demand forecasts for this year and next as richer countries sink into recession and growth slows in the developing world.

And while local consumers are excited about the slowly decreasing price at the pump, they’re split about whether or not the trend will continue.

Fred Piland said he felt consumers are experiencing only a “short reprieve” from high gas prices.

“They’re going to go back up after the first of the year,” Piland said. “And I think that in February, our economy is going to get even worse. People are going to use those credit cards to make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas to make sure Johnny has nice presents under the tree.

“February is when that first payment is due,” he said. “That’s when we’re really going to see things go bad.”

Kevin Williams and his fiancé Natasha Marshall, who traveled from Atmore to be married at the Covington County Courthouse, were split on their opinion on how things would pan out.

Williams said he thinks the falling-price trend will continue.

“I think we’re going to see them bottom out somewhere around $1.50,” he said. “They’re going to keep falling because the economy is so bad, but they’re going to come back up.

“Don’t worry about that,” he said. “They’ll come back up for sure.”

Marshall said it would be no time before the price is back up to $3 per gallon.

“This is just a break after the election,” she said. “It’s not going to last.”

Williams’ mother, Deborah, agreed with her future daughter-in-law.

“I think it’s going to go up at least two more dollars around the holidays,” she said. “Those big oil companies won’t be able to stand losing money like that.”