0

Gas prices decline, despite crude oil hike

A. W. Powell said he is smart about getting the best deal on gasoline.

"If it's a penny less, I'll go to the next one as long as it's on the way," said Powell, 85.

He and other cost-conscience, metro-Atlanta motorists are still seeing daily gas price reductions at just under a penny per day.

Gas prices in the metro area continued to fall over the weekend to an average of $2.48 per gallon for regular unleaded, which was 14 cents cheaper than the national average on Sunday, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

"Unlike the cold weather we saw in January, the weather we see now is not affecting the gas prices, because we still have an ample supply," said Jessica Brady, a spokeswoman for AAA Auto Club South.

Brady said average gas prices have remained low, despite a $3-per-barrel rise last week in crude oil.

"After a volatile week on the market, crude oil rose to settle at $74.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange — the first increase in five weeks," Brady said. "We think that the crude oil increase was a response to what happened to the U.S. dollar last week."

She said increased crude oil prices resulted from an up-and-down U.S. dollar, whose value against the Euro has remained relatively high lately. Another factor which has pushed the price of crude oil higher, and weakened the U.S. dollar, is the U.S. government's decision to freeze the assets of companies connected to Iran — OPEC's second-largest crude oil producer.

Brady said she expects average gas prices to continue to decline over the coming weeks, through late March.

"At the same time we watched the price of crude oil increase, the nationwide average price of retail gasoline continued its decline to reach the lowest price this year," she said. "The basic supply-and-demand fundamentals remained relatively unchanged. U.S. and global demand are still down, and the American Petroleum Institute reported crude stockpiles rose 7.2 million barrels."

For A. W. Powell, a Korean War and World War II veteran, current gas prices are much better than what he has seen lately, though not as low as they have been, historically.

He said he remembers a time, in the 1940s, when gas prices were much lower.

"Ten gallons for a dollar," Powell said. "Gas was 10 cents per gallon, then. Those days are over."