By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley) – You may have noticed: gas prices are below $4.00 a gallon at most stations around the High Desert. This is welcome news to most drivers who are tired of being pinched at the pump.
In fact, according to Jeffrey Smith, spokesman for Triple A of Southern California, prices are down about 15 cents from last week, and almost 40 cents from a month ago.
Smith explained, “Prices continue to take a nose dive. Earlier concerns about supply problems here in California and along the West Coast have evaporated. And the price of oil has come down fairly significantly because of concerns about the economy internationally.”
Smith went on to explain that China’s economy, which was moving along quite well, has started to slow down, and they are one of the largest consumers of oil in the world right now. Also the fact that the U.S. economy still has not picked up, and the concerns with all that is going on in Europe with Greece, Italy and Spain’s economic outlooks adding to the sluggish economy worldwide, mean that there will not be as much demand for oil as previously thought. This causes the futures prices to go down.
Another concern is when other currencies, like the Euro, weaken compared to the dollar, the price of oil goes down because oil is traded in dollars. When the dollar has a higher value, oil becomes less of a valuable commodity in dollars.
“It’s really gone back to supply and demand rather than speculation which drove it high really fast,” said Smith. “Or fears that were unfounded.”
Smith says it is best to shop around to find the lowest price per gallon. For the most part stations have relatively the same price, but there are pockets where you can find it cheaper. “If people are going and buying gas at stations where that have the lowest price, that will motivate other retailers to drop their prices too.”
Shop around for gas online and plan your gas purchases accordingly. AAA’s online Triptik or Gasbuddy.com, GasPriceWatch.com, Gas Prices from Mapquest, FuelEconomy.gov and many other web sites offer users the option to search for local gas stations with different prices by zip code. The web sites are an easy way to find the closest and cheapest gas stations online.
The average price of gas in the Inland Empire is $3.95, according to Smith. A recent check of the GasBuddy.com website showed prices as low as $3.75 for regular unleaded gas at several stations in the High Desert.