By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
Some gas prices in Northeast Mississippi have dipped below $3 per gallon for the first time since January 2011 and they could stay there for a while.
Don Redman, spokesman for AAA Mississippi, said gas prices were high because of unstable global markets and the political climate in the Middle East.
“For the majority of this year we saw historic high prices – prices that have never been recorded – and many were divorced from supply and demand as a response to potential conflict in Iran,” Redman said. “By April the realization that you can only be divorced from supply and demand for so long set in.”
Redman said if there’s an active hurricane season, consumers could see another spike in gas prices but as long as things stay calm, prices should remain lower.
“If everything stays steady, many analysts are suggesting that you’re now looking at crude oil prices at $70-$75 a barrel,” he said. “I think that it is possible in short term that we see them continue to drop where the average is below $3.”
Crude oil dropped to $78.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday. That’s down almost 30 percent since its peak in February.
The state average was $3.12 on Thursday, down from $3.19 last week and $3.45 one year ago. The state average rose as high as $3.79 in April, according to AAA.
National average regular gas costs $3.47, down from $3.53 last week and $3.63 last year, according to AAA.
Lee County gas prices rose into the $3 range in February of last year.
“There is no doubt the sustained high price was having a dramatic negative impact on local family budgets,” Redman said. “When you’re at $3.50-plus, you’re talking about an additional $50-$100 each month that is now back in the budget.
Now people might travel more – go out to eat. It could have a positive impact on the local economy just because the budget isn’t being thrown into the gas tank.”
The Murphy Oil gas station at the Walmart in Fulton was the lowest reported gas price in the area on Thursday, according to MississippiGasPrices.com, at $2.97 per gallon.
Also on Thursday, Wild Bill’s in Sherman had regular gas for $2.98 and the Shell station, in Fulton for $2.99.
Regal Truck Stop in New Albany had regular gas for $2.99.
Tupelo’s cheapest gas, $3.08, was at Love’s Travel Stop on Highway 178.
Laurel had the cheapest gas Thursday in the state at $2.86 a gallon.