Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

December 24, 2012

Gas prices drop

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Drivers may be getting a surprise early present when they stop by the gas pump on their way out to holiday gatherings.

    “What we see right now reflects a pretty consistent pattern,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com. “There’s lots of supply and still not a lot of demand. There are 8 million barrels of petroleum coming in from east and Gulf Coast refineries with strong supply side numbers and relatively low demand.”

    Laskoski said travelers can expect to see prices around $3.23, only a penny higher than gas prices this time last year. He also said those low rates may not be the end of the savings drivers could see at the pump.

    “I think we’re expecting incremental decline to the end of the year,” he said. “We’re still expecting decline but not as much as we’ve seen. Once we get to mid January we’ll see prices probably plateau.”

    Local vendors are expressing some concern those low prices may not appear.

    “I know that our market as a whole, the price of oil has gone up,” said Martin’s IGA general manager Ken Lansing. “I would expect  to see a slight bump in price. We’ll hopefully see them come right back down.”

    Laskoski said these fears may be unfounded.

    “A lot of people think gas prices will go up but we’ve seen where they actually decline and I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually decline from Dec. 23 through Dec. 27,” he said. “There’s no reason to expect a spike.

    “In  most areas, some more than others, you’ll see a decline just because supply is as great as it is.”

    While keeping the tank full is one necessity, Laskoski said other precautions should be taken before hitting the road.

    “In almost any metro market you can identify, the range of prices from lowest to highest gas can be 90 cents a gallon,” he said. “Because that range is so significant, it’s important to make those travel plans and probably fill up before you go. Let people know what time you’re leaving and what time you expect to get there. We always recommend people check their tires and have them inflated to their where the manufacturers recommend. Check the vehicle make sure everything is in good running condition.”