Customers, stations pleased with lower gas prices

By Sharna Johnson, Freedom New Mexico

The drop in fuel prices over the last month haven’t just been good for consumers, it’s good for gas companies too.

When fuel prices are high, gas companies have to pay more just like regular consumers. April Rutter, office manager for C&S Fuel in Portales, said it’s a relief to be able to buy and sell at lower prices.

“It’s good for us. We’re glad to see it, it’s better for us overall, she said.

Gasoline prices in New Mexico have dropped an average of 80 cents per gallon in a month’s time.

The AAA auto club and the Oil Price Information Service say the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in New Mexico is $2.40, which is 20 cents higher than the national average.

Cortez Gas station attendant Mary Wood said it’s been a nice change to see customers happy when they fill their tanks.

“They’re actually liking it,” she said. “Instead of coming in and complaining about the prices, they’re coming in and complimenting on how many gallons they’re getting.”

Gas was selling at an average $2.08 for a gallon of regular unleaded in Portales Wednesday and an average of $2.29 in Clovis, according to www.gasbuddy.com.

Wood said the price at her station was $2.19 a gallon Wednesday, about half what gas was being sold for in the area just a couple months ago.

With the drop, customers are more likely to purchase convenience store items such as snacks and soft drinks at the south Prince Street station, she said.

“The gas prices are going to continue to go down, I’m hoping, and that brings more business out here,” she said.

AAA and OPIS say the relief at the pump is due to the slumping economy. Consumers have less money to spend, so people are driving less, which is dampening the demand for oil.

Nationwide, gas prices have dropped for the 17th week since early July.

Rutter said C&S owns three stations in Portales and has seen a slight drop in fuel consumption in recent weeks, but nothing dramatic.

“You still have to get from here to there. Maybe people aren’t traveling as much, but I don’t think in a rural community like this you can cut out your driving really,” she said.