Gas Prices Continue to Tumble, OPEC Working to Bump Them Back Up

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

According to AAA, this weekend marks the first time this year that Americans have paid less for a gallon or regular gas than they did a year ago. With the price of crude oil tumbling, Grand Valley drivers say they're stoked. But if OPEC has its way, that happiness might not last for long.

If you took a drive past the Bradley Sinclair on 25 Road and Patterson Road Saturday, you saw cars backed up almost into the street, waiting in line for one thing.

"I was just telling my mom in the car, I said mom, it's down to two fifty-three," said Chris Fredricks, as she filled up her car. "That's looking pretty good."

Lots of other drivers -- and their wallets -- agree.

"It's about time," said Norma Stahl.

"It's nice to go from fifty dollars to thirty dollars," said Nydia Braun.

"We're losing enough in the stock market, this is all we can afford right now," said Roger Martin. "We need cheap gas."

With prices dropping lower and lower, it's becoming harder and harder for gas stations like Bradley Sinclair to keep up with the demand. A Bradley Trucking employee tells 11 News, tankers had to refill the station three times Saturday -- by 2:15 in the afternoon.

"I was going to fill up my tank yesterday and I figured I'd wait for today," said Braun. "I turned out to be right because it's cheaper than it was a couple days ago."

Quite a bit cheaper -- According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in Colorado was $3.65 in September. Friday, it was down at $2.81 a gallon, and Saturday down again, at $2.76 a gallon.

It's a trend that is making consumers happy, but leaving producers worried. The U.S. Department of Transportation says Americans drove 15 billion fewer miles in August 2008, as they did in August 2007. Experts say the demand for oil in emerging markets is falling worldwide. They say those factors have caused crude oil prices to fall 56 percent since July.

In an attempt to turn things around, OPEC announced Friday it would slash oil production by 1.5 million barrels a day.

"I was afraid it might go up again because they're not going to produce as much," said Stahl. "So I thought today was the day [to fill up]."

But for the moment, that hasn't been the case -- much to the chagrin of drivers who say while they might be feeling the effects of a slumping economy, at least they're not feeling the pain at the pump.

According to AAA, the highest average price Coloradans have seen this year for a gallon of regular gas was $4.09 in July.

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