Plummeting fuel prices free up consumer dollars

Connie Swinney/The Highlander
Fuel prices have taken a dive the last two months around the country, including several fueling stations in Marble Falls. Since September, the average cost of crude oil has dropped from about $80 to under $60 per barrel.

 

 

 

 

By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

When Frank Hosea noticed the fuel sign at the Walmart gas station, he did not hesitate to stop.

“I usually come here for gas because it's always the cheapest. Now it's under $2,” he said. “It's really good. It doesn't cost me $50 to fill it up.”

The Horseshoe Bay resident was among motorists in line Nov. 27 to buy gasoline at the Murphy USA fueling station.

In the past week, Market observers have noticed the same scenarios around the country as fuel prices have dropped a weekly average of a few pennies per gallon to as much as 11 cents less per gallon, depending on the state.

As of Nov. 28, crude oil averaged about $59 per barrel compared to about $80 per barrel three months ago.

According to AAA Texas, the average price per gallon is $2.19 per gallon.

“Texans are now paying the lowest gas prices of 2018, as the statewide average has dipped below the previous recorded low set back in January of this year,” AAA Texas/New Mexico Spokesman Daniel Armbruster said in a statement.

The entity has even unveiled an APP (www.AAA.com/mobile) to help motorists pinpoint the lowest prices in their area.

On the national level, Texas is among states in the south and southeast region which have landed on the Top 10 list of largest weekly declines. The other states are Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas. With a $.07 drop, Florida and North Carolina reported the smallest decreases.

In Burnet County, the price free fall has tipped off a “price war” among fueling stations around the city of Marble Falls. As of Nov. 29, several locations had posted unleaded gas prices at $1.96 per gallon.

“The price is where it belongs,” Hosea said of the local prices. “People are not going to drive more or drive less. They will have more disposable income.”

Petroleum officials credited the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for the price tumble.

However, oil industry experts warned the downward trend could change course as early as the second week in December.

On December 6, OPEC is scheduled to meet to decide whether to curtail crude production by as much as a million barrels per day to reduce the supply. As a result fuel prices could spike again in America.

In the meantime, Jerry Schoppe of Fredericksburg, who drives through Marble Falls on his way to Lampasas County where he owns a ranch, said he would take advantage of the current consumer gains.

“I saw it below two bucks and I pulled right in. It's an overall savings,” he said of his stop at a Marble Falls fueling station. “I don't think it will stay long. Gas prices fluctuate.

“If nothing else I'll have more money for Christmas,” he added. “This is just kind of a bonus.”

Connie Swinney is a staff writer for The Highlander and Burnet Bulletin. She covers Marble Falls city and community news, the police beat and the 33rd/424th Judicial District Courts. Send her a note at connie@highlandernews.com.

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