I noticed it just this morning driving to work. Gas at the local station had dropped six cents a gallon overnight to $1.99, led by the “Venezuelans” that supply several Citgo franchises around town. I need to send a photo to PET sales rep Bill Albrant, who lives in Orange County, Calif. Last month at GIE+EXPO in Louisville, he was taking repeated cell phone photos of gas pricing signs near the motel where we stayed for the show on Fern Valley Road south of town. Albrant had to take several photos since the price dropped from the mid $2.50 range down to I think $2.41 when he took his last photo while we were there, saying the folks he knew in southern California—where gas was still over $3/gal.—would never believe it.
A couple of weeks ago, the cynical journalist in me was calling the recent price drops “election gas,” the thinking being that the powers that be didn’t want a bunch of Americans PO’d about gas prices heading out to vote. Of course, the recent development comes on the heels of the great Southeast “hurricane spike” two months ago, when prices here locally at poweretblog headquarters shot up 50 cents a gallon in one afternoon with Hurricane Ike bearing down on the Gulf Coast, resulting in shuttered pump islands and serious scarcity problems in the region for several weeks. The hurricane spike came on the heels of the great “Asian demand” spike from late winter through mid-summer, coupled with the traditional Memorial Day “travel season ” spike in gas prices that Americans have come to know and love over the decades.
I thought we’d never see $2 a gallon again, but then who ever thought they’d see Wall Street investment bankers on welfare, or a black U.S. President?
But let’s not stop now: The last time I paid less than a dollar a gallon was in 1999 at an independent station near Atlanta, and if you want to talk serious milestones, then let’s shoot the for 60-70 cents a gallon I remember paying when I turned 16 in 1978. But for now let’s happily sniff the fumes during a long fill-up—and don’t worry about those three drops that hit pavement every time everyone gets gas and moves the nozzle from vehicle back to pump. It’s Buck Ninety-Nine Day!