Gas Prices Drop, But Not As Much As Last Year

By Christy Aumer, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Numerous local gas stations are selling gas noticeably lower than the rest of the nation on Wednesday.

Many Marion gas stations displayed $2.99 for super unleaded fuel, and some Cedar Rapids gas stations were $2.97, just a couple penny's shy of $3. Kyle Newman, 33 of North Liberty said even though it's a marginal difference, it made him want to top off.

"I haven't seen it under $3 in a long time," Newman said. "I looked over and noticed it, and even though I'm tired, I decided to stop."

Living in North Liberty and commuting to Cedar Rapids daily, Newman hopes the drop in gas isn't temporary.

Chris Burhite, 22, had a different reaction.

"I haven't had to fill up in three weeks," Burhite said. "I didn't really notice."

Burhite lives a couple miles away from where he works and said the cost to fill-up his Sports Utility Vehicle hasn't had too much of an effect on him.

Iowa's current average for regular gas is about 10-20 cents lower than neighboring states Wisconsin and Illinois. According to AAA's fuel gauge report, the national average for regular gas is $3.31. The website lists the highest recorded average price for regular unleaded on July 17, 2008 at $4.11.

Cross-county traveler Scott Warren fills up on diesel and tends to notice when gas increases or decreases. Stopping at the Kum and Go on Seventh Avenue in Cedar Rapids with his trailer of horses, Warren was happy to see diesel at $3.79. Illinois' current regular gas average is $3.40, Wisconsin is $3.31 and Iowa is $3.22.

"It was $4.09 in Wisconsin," Warren said about the price of diesel gas. "I'm surprised to see it this cheap."

At the Casey's on First Avenue and 35th Street, 38-year-old Sam Grissom didn't immediately notice the drop in super unleaded fuel, but when he did he wasn't too surprised. "It's probably because they want us to spend money on other things, since gas effects things like car pooling, shopping and trips," Grissom said. "It probably won't last past January 1st."

AAA spokesman Gene LaDoucer said gas prices have been on a downward trend primarily because it is winter time and will likely stabilize as the holiday's get closer.

"We generally see prices come down this time of year and they're following that pattern which is a good thing," LaDoucer said. "The pattern will also indicate that prices will move back up again around March or April."

However, Iowa's average last year was $3.18, compared to $3.22 on Wednesday.

"On Christmas day last year in Iowa, it was $3.08," LaDoucer said. "I think it'll be close to those levels come Christmas day. Prices have been moving quite sharply over the last couple of days and that price drop will be reflected in state-wide average."

"Right now we can rejoice in the fact that gas prices are moving lower during the holiday season." LaDoucer said.

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