By Lauren Wanko
The cars kept coming to this Jersey Shore gas station as drivers happily filled up and doled out less cash.
“Extra money for the grandkids, why not,” said Howard Slender.
When asked what she plans on doing with the extra cash, Neptune resident Tracy Turner said, “Buy eggs, which are going up. Eggs and bacon because they’re not going down!”
Gas prices are, though. Today’s AAA National Average for gas is $2.32. In New Jersey regular is about $2.08, down significantly from this time last year when the average was about $3.25.
At this Neptune City station regular is $1.95 a gallon today.
“We’re dealing with some of the cheapest energy prices in the last five years. We got used to very high numbers from 2011 to first half of 2014 and now it’s sort of back to where we were at the beginning of the decade. Labor Day weekend saw the cheapest gas prices since 2004,” said Oil Price Information Service’s Tom Kloza.
Kloza says there are a few reasons for low prices at the pump.
“OPEC countries have gone after market share as opposed to trying to solidify prices. The other great success story is shale. We’re producing about four million barrels a day more than we were during the first Arab spring, so a lot more supply from the US, continued high supply from OPEC countries and a little bit of a slow down in global economic growth,” said Kloza.
The busy summer travel season has come to a screeching halt. Instead of road trips most drivers are commuting to the office. Demand for gas drops by about five percent after Labor Day, says Kloza. Gas recipes, of sorts, are changing, too.
“In the summertime we use what I would almost call like a gluten free gasoline where you can’t use some inexpensive hydrocarbons because you have to meet ozone standards,” said Kloza.
But Kloza says now distributors are blending different, cheaper, hydrocarbons into gasoline. This Sea Girt resident owns a car service business.
“I’m kind of a mom and pop so with respect to not having to pay as much money every week, hello it helps,” said Billy Introcaso.
“I actually work at a gas station in Brick. I wash their windows too so they tip me,” said Katie Porro.
Kloza says consumers can save on more than just gas prices. Diesel fuel is as low as it’s been since 2009.
“The price of Jet fuel is about a third of what it was let’s say two summers ago, and if you use heating oil this winter you’re going to be able to lock in your heating oil for about $2 a gallon, which is about half the price that you probably paid in the winters between 2011 and last January,” he said.
For now though, these drivers can’t stop smiling at the pump.
“It’s great on the pocket book. I hope it continues,” said Corrine McCandless.
OPIS predicts by Thanksgiving most drivers will be shocked by the low prices. The company predicts gas will be below $2 a gallon for just about everyone in the state and as low as $1.75 in some places.