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Inmate escapes from Tri-County Regional Jail in Champaign County

Gas prices continue slide at area stations


The government shutdown and fears of a new recession are among a host of factors helping lower gasoline prices in the area and nationwide, a petroleum analyst said.

Gasoline prices fell steadily throughout September, but in few places faster than here. Chances are, they’ll get lower still this month.

That’s largely because of the hyper-competitive nature of gas stations in the Great Lakes region, analysts say, with fierce competition that causes price swings that shoot both below the national average and above, with price hikes happening when stations seek to make up for lower prices earlier in the year.

According to GasBuddy.com, prices here for regular gasoline averaged $3.23 per gallon Wednesday, a drop of .15 cents from a week ago. Nationally, regular gas averaged $3.40 per gallon, about what it was a week ago.

By comparison, a year ago prices here were $3.66 per gallon for regular.

A tame hurricane season, prospects of a peaceful resolution of conflict over Syria, and a seasonal decline in the price of oil are also helping push prices lower, said Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst at GasBuddy.com.

The departure of speculative hedge fund money from oil investments and the prospect of an economic slowdown in the wake of government dysfunction has also helped drive prices low, DeHaan said.

The end of the summer driving season is key to driving down demand this time every year, said Cindy Antrican of AAA Dayton. She expects the momentum to continue.

AAA said that highlights from September include:

• Gas prices decreasing 19 cents per gallon, or 5.4 percent, in September, the largest monthly decline since October 2012. The national average has declined for 29 days in a row, the longest consecutive decline since April 2012. Today’s national average of $3.42 per gallon is the lowest since Jan. 30.

• Gas prices should drop another 25 to 30 cents per gallon to the cheapest averages of the year barring significant refinery problems or higher oil costs. Averages in as many as five to 10 states could drop below $3 per gallon, but there is a floor to how low the national average can go given the very high cost of crude oil.

• Much of the country switched to using less expensive winter-bend gasoline on Sept. 15. Winter-blend gasoline can cost as much as 10-15 cents per gallon less to produce than the equivalent summer fuel because it is not required to meet stricter air regulations.

At this stage, the trend is a good one for consumers. Especially “if everything were to remain the same and we don’t see a late season hurricane or a fire at a refinery,” Antrican said.

“It can keep going down for all I care,” said John Davis of Yellow Springs. “The more I can put in my savings and not my gas tank, the better off I will be.”


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