State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Falling Gas Prices Get Thumbs Up From State College Drivers

by on November 15, 2014 8:55 AM

Filling up that gas guzzler has suddenly become a lot less painful.

After years of seemingly-never-ending increases, gasoline prices have hit the skids. As a result, car owners in State College and across the country are positively giddy.

You see it on almost every street corner -- gas stations advertising prices that have fallen faster than an unleaded balloon.

The latest data from AAA says the national average for regular gasoline is currently $2.92 per gallon. A month ago it was $3.20, a difference of 28-cents.

An informal survey of State College gas stations reveals that most are selling regular unleaded for $2.99 a gallon -- some for even less.

Medhat Aziz works at the UniMart at 1200 South Atherton Street. Aziz says business is "a lot better" since his station began offering a cash price of $2.89 a gallon. And customers are letting him know about it. "They like it. They're very happy. They have more money in their pocket to spend," he says.

Outside, while filling up his car, Michael Shenoda of State College, actually laughed, saying "you can't beat it," while motioning at the sign for $2.89 gas.

Taylor Montross of Pine Grove Mills thinks gas prices are great -- especially the option to pay with cash. "I used to spend about $50 to fill it up and I'm spending less than that now. So it does make a difference, especially in the long run."

Aziz is certain that customers are using money that used to go for gas to buy more merchandise at his convenience store. "You can tell," he says, adding, "People have a better attitude. They come out and spend more money."

According to AAA, the average price of gas nationwide has dropped for 46 days in a row. AAA calls that "the longest consecutive decline since 2008."

AAA claims the price of gasoline has dropped 77 cents from the 2014 peak of $3.70 which was recorded last April. Because of the decline Americans are saving more than $250 million -- a day.

Fariborz Ghadar, Director of the Center for Global Business Studies at Penn State, says gasoline prices are falling because of changes in the world economy. "China’s growth has slowed down," he says. "Japan and Europe are becoming more energy efficient. The United State’s oil production has grown rapidly. All these factors have caused oil prices to decline globally as well as in the U.S."

Ghadar adds that no one knows which direction oil prices might head next. "Gas prices will start going up once the global economy starts to grow fast again," he says.

For now, nobody seems too concerned about gas costs heading higher. Back out at the pumps, Michael Shenoda looks at the prices. "It's awesome," he says.

Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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