You may have to rub your eyes a few times to make sure you're reading the gas price signs correctly.
Gas prices are dropping. Unleaded gasoline was down to $2.25 Friday at most Brainerd and Baxter gas stations, with Sunoco along Highway 371 north of Baxter showing $2.21 a gallon. These gas prices are a bargain compared to what people were seeing in mid July when they paid close to $4 a gallon.
Dawn Duffy, spokesperson for AAA- Minneapolis, said Friday gas prices were at their highest on July 16-17 when the state average was $3.99 a gallon. Duffy said AAA anticipates that the gas prices should remain low for the fall.
The Sunoco gas station along Highway 371 north of Baxter was selling unleaded gasoline for only $2.21 a gallon Friday afternoon.
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Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
Chad Knudson, owner of Wild Rice Depot convenience store and gas station on Business Highway 371, changed his gas price sign three times Friday. Early Friday morning, Knudson said regular gas was $2.39 a gallon, then he lowered it to $2.28 a gallon and by Friday afternoon it was $2.25.
Knudson said gas prices have been interesting this past month. Knudson said four weeks ago gas was $3.69 a gallon because prices went up because of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and then the prices decreased. Knudson said this week gas prices dropped to $2.30 a gallon, but he changed the prices three times. First it rose 8 cents, then dropped 2 cents and then it went up 14 cents.
"We play the lottery," Knudson said on gas prices. Knudson said they buy two tanker loads a week and they never know what the price of gas will be.
Duffy said there are a few reasons why gas prices have been dropping. Duffy said crude oil is trading for half of what it was in July. Duffy said Friday oil sold at $63.60 a barrel and that's less than half the price of what it sold a few months ago. Another reason, Duffy said was the U.S. demand is down and the U.S. dollar is worth more money than it was. The third reason, Duffy said the gasoline inventory has been replenished from the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav and Ike.
"So what's going to happen tomorrow?" Duffy said of gas prices. "Anything can happen. From terrorism or if a labor strikes or we get more hurricanes. Any threat to distribution can affect gas prices negatively."
But for now gas prices are down across the country, with Minnesota being one of the lowest states, said Duffy.
"Minnesota tends to be 5-10 cents lower than other states," said Duffy. "A lot of it has to do with our taxes."
According to fuelgaugereport.com, Friday's national average for regular gasoline was $2.78 per gallon and a year ago it was $2.82 a gallon. The highest recorded average nationally was $4.11 on July 18. The state average on regular gas Friday was $2.52 a gallon and a year ago was $2.75 a gallon. The highest recorded average price in the state was $3.98 a gallon on July 16.
Duffy said gas prices should be interesting for Thanksgiving and Christmas because the demand for gasoline will increase. Gas prices were down a little for Memorial Day and Fourth of July, but Duffy said people are more willing to spend more money on traveling to see their family for the upcoming holidays.
Duffy said with lower gas prices, it is a good time for drivers to get their vehicles winterized so they'll run more efficiently.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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