Drivers’ wallets grow as gas prices fall

Mobil Gas Station on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Green Street in Urbana displays $2.58 per gallon for regular gas on their marquee. Amelia Moore The Daily Illini

Mobil Gas Station on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Green Street in Urbana displays $2.58 per gallon for regular gas on their marquee. Amelia Moore The Daily Illini

By Katie O'Connell

Every time Gina Vercelli, junior in LAS, pulled up to a gas station in her red 1997 Cadillac Catera during the past year, she expected to pay $40 to $45 to fill her gas tank. Having worked at a pool supply store during the summer in order to save money, high gas prices affected whether or not she was financially able to travel home throughout the school year.

However, Vercelli and other drivers in Central Illinois are beginning to feel some relief due to decreasing gas prices. According to Bill Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketing Association, retail gas prices will fall 12 to 16 percent between the end of summer and Thanksgiving this year.

“This is the first time gas has been under $70 a barrel since May 1,” Fleischli said.

Fleischli said that there are three main reasons for the current drop in prices. First, the past few weeks have seen an increase in stability in the Middle East which is reflected in a more stable gas price. Also, the summer storm season has not materialized as predicted, meaning that stock market traders have not had to sell gasoline stock options.

While these reasons are unique to the driving habits in 2006, Fleischli said that the last reason involves an annual decrease in driving once the school year begins.

“Usually when kids go back to school people slow down their driving needs,” Fleischli said. “This slows demand, supply goes up and then you need to drop prices to move the product around.”

This drop in prices, which generally happens toward the end of the summer, allows students like Vercelli to travel back and forth in the beginning of the school year.

“I do like to go home a lot,” Vercelli said. “If I have the money to put into the car, I’m more likely to go home.”

Fleischli said that the drop in prices can be felt not only in Central Illinois, but throughout the Midwest. The exact decrease will vary depending on taxes in each county.

However, the drop in gas prices is expected to stop once Thanksgiving approaches. Fleischli said that gas sold during the summer needs to be used by Sept. 15 before a different kind of gas begins its rotation on the market.