Local News

Economic woes pushing down gasoline, natural-gas prices

Posted November 10, 2008

— Economic woes have brought at least one benefit to drivers: dramatically falling gasoline and natural-gas prices.

AAA Carolinas reported that Triangle drivers were paying $1.77 less a gallon Monday than they were when hurricane damage to Gulf Coast oil facilities drove prices up to an all-time state record of $4.08 on Sept. 15.

But much of the drop has come over the past month.

On Oct. 10, a gallon of regular unleaded gas cost $3.74 in the Triangle; on Nov. 10, the average was $2.29. State gas prices have also dropped from $3.60 to $2.27 in the past four weeks.

Gas went for $1.97 a gallon Monday at a Sheetz gas station on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh and at the Murphy Express in Zebulon.

"I have to work everyday, going back and forth, and it burns up a tank of gas real fast, so it definitely helps the budget, keeps more money in the pocket," motorist Wayne Ruey said.

"It is great to see the big drop," driver Ann Wagner said. "We can go on vacation now and not worry about it. ... But $4, to me that was like price-gouging."

Natural gas prices have been falling, too, and utilities have dropping their prices along with them. Rocky Mount utility officials said they have enacted rate cuts for the past two months.

"We went down a little over 5 cents the first of October, and we decreased our rate another 12 cents the first of November, because the price of natural gas has gone down in the market," Rusty Owen, Rocky Mount's utilities manager, said.

PSNC twice lowered its prices in October at a combined rate of 20 percent for residential users.  Piedmont Natural gas also decreased its rates by 16 percent.

Will the drop continue?

The gas-price drop is, in part, a direct result of the economic downturn, according to AAA Carolinas. As Americans' economic concerns have increased, the demand for gas has declined – also pushing down the price.

Market turmoil has also driven away speculators who were pushing up the price of oil futures, AAA officials said.

Nationally, drivers were paying an average of $2.24 a gallon Monday – a 45 percent decrease since the national record was set on July 17. Then, speculation helped drive oil prices over $140 a barrel, but on Monday, the cost settled at $62 – approximately 55 percent less.

The decrease in gasoline and natural gas prices leaves consumers with one question: Will it continue?

"I don't know. I'm kind of worried it is going back up," Ruey said.

Utilities officials warned that with the cold winter months coming up, customers should not expect natural gas prices to keep dropping.

"We still encourage you to conserve, because we don't know what the price is going to do," Owens said.

AAA officials, however, said they expect prices at the pump to keep dropping.


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  • Amruby Nov 10, 2008

    Tells you who controls the economy in this country--not banks, its the oil companies.

  • carolinaguy75 Nov 10, 2008

    NC gas prices are going to go back up 5 to 10 cents a gallon in July 2009 when the cap on the gas tax expires. Right now we are at 29.9 cents per gallon (12 cents ABOVE the national average) BEFORE other charges are added. They'll get you one way or the other.


    Here is the chart for every state's gas tax.


  • Rolling Along Nov 10, 2008

    Actually it has little to do with Economics. Most of the price run up was driven by speculation and little else. Put a stop to the speculators then market forces ie; economics will really come into play.

  • 12345_here Nov 10, 2008

    This should teach us all a lesson, when they start raising gas prices ,we stop buying and puts us in control a little.wonder if this would work on other things,just thinking out loud??????


    It's called Economics. Supply and Demand. Go take a few courses. It might enlighten you.

  • 68_polara Nov 10, 2008

    Unfortunately gas prices are becoming another factor in our economy. It was a big cause of our current down turn by removing so much discretionary money from our wallets. The lower prices now may help us recover but just as we do the increased fuel prices may pull the economy back down again.

  • Methuselah Nov 10, 2008

    Now watch -- the State will use lower gas prices as a convenient excuse to raise the gas tax even higher....

  • b4self Nov 10, 2008

    This should teach us all a lesson, when they start raising gas prices ,we stop buying and puts us in control a little.wonder if this would work on other things,just thinking out loud??????

  • GWALLY Nov 10, 2008

    If the economy is driving down the prices then gas will be 1.00 by Jan or Feb....cause RIGHT NOW it ain't looking good at all!!!

  • Mr. Reaction Nov 10, 2008

    Economic woes driving drive down gas prices???

    You meand Economic Woes driving down gas prices???

    Glad all you liberals are riding your bikes and taking buses now ... cause i can fill up my h2 now ha ha

  • ratherbnnc Nov 10, 2008

    And if people would continue to buy less gasoline, the price would continue to go down.