Gas prices dropping, consumers keep eyes open

The jury is out on whether gasoline prices will drop further than midweek’s $1.51 per gallon, but a common sentiment is they will stabilize and eventually increase.

Gas prices have dropped an average of 8 cents per week for the past two weeks, several gas station managers said.

To most pocketbooks, it’s a relief.

“We get a lot of regulars that, instead of spending 90 bucks a day, they spend 40 or 50,” said Chris Breen, assistant manager at Stop N Save, 3223 F Road in Clifton, referring to large trucks that regularly roll through. “People seem happier.”

Long-term, it indicates how much control the United States can take back of its own resources, at least one financial expert says.

“The whole thing is hinged on how quickly our world recovers from this recession,” said Chris Doyle, owner of Center for Financial Strategies, 524 30 Road, suite 2, in Grand Junction.

Doyle said a rebound of prices may come a year from now, at which time gasoline may be back up to $2.75 to $3 a gallon, and a barrel will range from $70 to $85. It’s something citizens should hope for, he said.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Doyle said. “I hate pulling up to the gas pump and paying those prices, too, but I further dislike how much damage has been done to this country and other nations because of combinations of us not learning how to be conservation-oriented with energy and the fact that some of these nations have had us over a barrel, basically since the ’70s.

“My hope is it will get back up to $70 or $80 a barrel and stay there, so people in our country have financial incentive to develop alternative energy and quit counting on countries that don’t like us.”

Lack of a formal national energy policy hasn’t helped the situation, he said. Financial experts across the board guess the economy will show signs of relief between this April and July, as it takes about six to nine months before benefits of a bailout begin to kick in, Doyle said. And gas prices won’t start to go back up until the recession eases.

Doyle also said rock bottom has been hit.

“I really don’t expect it to go under a dollar,” said Ken Jackson, district manager for Grand Junction’s Western Convenience stores.

The Western Convenience at 2525 Broadway dropped its price to $1.51 a gallon Wednesday.

“I think a barrel of oil is about as low as it’s going to get,” Jackson said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries met recently, hinting it will decrease
production more significantly than anticipated, said Jackson, who believes the price is stabilized.

Breen also said gas prices will likely stay where they’re at for now.


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