Gas prices may drop, experts say

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    By Sarah Cahoon

    The future may be brighter for drivers across America. The American Automobile Association (AAA) has reported that crude oil prices have dropped to the lowest point in two years, which could mean prices at the pump could also drop.

    Following the Sept. 11 attack on the United States and the temporary grounding of air traffic, the price of crude oil fell to just over $22 a barrel.

    Immediate prospects are for sharply lower pump prices in the weeks ahead, as the national average hovers around $1.50. The Utah average dropped a penny overnight to $1.53 a gallon for regular unleaded.

    Rolayne Fairclough, the automobile association”s Utah spokeswoman says this decline in crude oil prices will affect market prices.

    “The big drop in crude oil price — from around $28 prior to the attacks — means that retail prices should begin falling soon,” she said. “This will make autumn auto travel more affordable.”

    After the gas price scares of the days subsequent to the attacks, students are relieved to find gas prices may fall, instead of escalate as originally speculated.

    Michelle Green, 23, a pre-med UVSC student from Yorba Linda, Calif., was one of the thousands of Americans rushing to gas stations on Sept. 11 to fill up her gas tank.

    “My friend called me that night and said that gas prices were going to skyrocket, that they were already like $10 in Chicago,” she said. “So, I jumped in my car and waiting for 20 minutes to fill up my tank.”

    Green, who drives 15 minutes to get to school everyday is grateful prices will at worse stay stable.

    “If prices go down, that is wonderful. If they stay the same as they are now, I am still happy. I just don”t want to have to pay $5 a gallon.”

    The big drop in prices, and the downhill effect it is having on the price of refined fuels, including gasoline, is due to expectations among energy corporations that the demand for oil products will slow down. The reduced demand for jet fuel is also increasing capacity for the production of more and cheaper gasoline.

    Frank Kimber, manager of the Sinclair Lakeside service station in Provo, is excited to see if prices drop.

    “I heard the announcement of the oil price drop on the radio [Thursday] morning, but I haven”t seen any price changes at the pump just yet. I hope that they do.”

    The automobile association reported that based on the recent drop in crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices, a nationwide average gasoline price in the range of $1.40 per gallon or lower is not unlikely before Thanksgiving.

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