By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – An unusual phenomenon has been happening in Tupelo all week: Gas prices have been among the lowest in the state.
But only in one particular spot – the intersection of Maynard Drive and West Main Street, where Murphy Express opened its new store a week earlier.
Early Friday, it was selling gas for $2.68 a gallon. By midday, it had risen to $2.71 – still the lowest statewide, according to mississippigasprices.com.
Elsewhere across the All-America City, prices ranged from $2.73 at Sam’s to $2.89 at several other stores.
Still, most prices around the region hovered in the mid-$2.90s range.
“This is fantastic,” said Larry Moore, filling his SUV at Murphy Express. “Usually it’s Fulton or Wild Bill’s (in Sherman) that has the lowest price, and Tupelo usually has the highest price. I hope it stays this way.”
At least on Friday, Moore – and other drivers across the region – could buy gas for under $3 everywhere they went. In fact, it’s been nearly three years since gas prices have been this low.
About a quarter of the U.S. has prices below $3, AAA said.
Statewide, the average price is right at $3; nationwide, its $3.20, after bottoming out at $3.17 earlier in the week.
Gas prices have dropped 10 consecutive weeks. Falling oil prices, higher gas and oil inventories and lower demand have sent gas prices down about 9 percent in the past month.
Ann Huffman was filling her car at Murphy Express on Friday morning after opting not to do so Thursday when the price had dipped to $2.58.
Traffic was too congested, she said.
“My kids will be excited,” she said. “I have a daughter who has a Suburban and she’s driving to Little Rock. She’ll like these prices.”
Jim Thompson filled up one truck Thursday at the lower price and came back Friday with his other truck.
“It’s still going to take about $60 to fill it, but it’s a good price,” he said.
And prices may be going back up. Wholesale gas prices have risen three consecutive days, including 5 percent on Thursday. That’s likely to be passed on to consumers.
Still, some analysts think prices could drop a little more since demand in December typically falls.