Gas prices may continue to drop, but not for long |

Gas prices may continue to drop, but not for long

South Shore motorists may notice they’re driving away from gas pumps with a little more change in their pockets.

In recent weeks, many local gas prices have taken a dramatic dip – average prices are now hovering at $1.09 a gallon, with some even lower.

“We’re selling gas for 99 cents,” said Tahoe Tom’s Manager Mohammad Riaz. “Business is nonstop.” Tahoe Tom’s estimates selling close to 10,000 gallons a day.

Reasons for current price drops appear to be as varied as gas stations themselves.

“It’s a big game the oil companies have a tendency to play – they have a grab bag of excuses as to why prices go up and down,” said Scott Moss, manager of Al’s Chevron. “Maybe they were predicting a huge fallout from the Saddam Hussein thing – the Asian market’s tied into it too.”

According to the state Energy Commission, there has been a glut in world oil markets and mild winter weather in the rest of the country, resulting in a low demand for heating oil.

Prices may continue to fall in the next few weeks, as El Nino has kept many Californians at home this winter, the commission said.

With gas considered a commodity driven by supply and demand, the commission said prices are expected to rise by Memorial Day weekend.

Many Tahoe prices currently compete with those in the Sacramento Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, local merchants say. Fierce regional price wars in Los Angeles County, however, have caused prices to drop below $1 a gallon for the first time since 1991.

The statewide average price for California unleaded reformulated gas on Monday dropped to $1.10 a gallon – 34 cents less than last September’s average price.

In 1970, the average price was 34 cents a gallon, the commission said. However, when adjusted for inflation, that becomes $1.27 in today’s dollars.

“I ain’t complaining,” said Greg Haas, as he filled his Chevrolet Suburban Wednesday. “Every little bit helps.”

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