In Jan. 1 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Gas prices in Russell County and the nation have hit a five-year low as prices at the pump continued to fall this week, according to motorist group AAA.
AAA released numbers this week that show the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $1.63. Here in Russell County, gas has been as low as $1.45 per gallon at some stations and could possibly be even lower before the week is through.
Tim Roy, managing partner at Jax's Cool Convenience, said he never dreamed the price of gas would be under $3 a gallon again, let alone under $2 a gallon.
He said gas sales had risen recently, partly due to the price drop and partly due to the holiday season.
"Our overall sales haven't changed that much but they weren't that bad," Roy said. He said he had no idea how long the gas prices would remain low but that he was personally happy to see the price drop.
"I never thought I'd see it this low again," he said. "But with gas, you never know."
Just this past summer, gas prices peaked at more than $4 a gallon and a year ago the price for a gallon of gas was more than three dollars.
Bo Phillips filled his tank at a Russell Springs station for $1.47 a gallon early this week.
"It was a relief the price went down in time for the holidays," he said. "It made buying gifts a little easier this year."
Phillips said he hoped the low prices won't spoil consumers too much as he anticipates another jump sometime in the new year.
"Oh yeah, it'll happen," he said. "I've just got to enjoy it while it lasts."
The record high prices from five and six months ago have now dropped around 60 percent to the current price. AAA bases its information on credit card swipes from up to 100,000 service stations across the nation, according to their Web site.
Industry analysts have said that the prices are due to the ongoing recession and a bad economy and could possibly go below the $1 a gallon mark in the upcoming year.
With oil prices lagging in the $40 a barrel range, down more than $110 a barrel since July, some analysts have told national media outlets is could be late in 2009 before gas prices rise again.
Still, though, the high gas prices of this summer did take its toll on those in this county and nationwide.
According to a recent report by the Department of Transportation, Americans drove 100 billion fewer miles between November 2007 and October 2008 compared with the prior year.