Consumer News

Gas prices drop; future trend unclear

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gas prices have dropped a couple of cents, but analysts aren't sure if it's the start of a new trend.

The average price for a gallon of regular in Philadelphia Friday was $3.97. That's down a penny from last week. In South Jersey, it was $3.77, also down a penny from last week. And in Delaware, it was $3.86, down three cents from a week ago.

"People are still spending a lot of money on gas," said American Automobile Association (AAA) spokeswoman Jenny Robinson. "It's still a huge bite out of your wallet."

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Just ask Bill Murphy, who has to keep five trucks fueled up for his roofing business. Asked how much it costs to fill up one of his trucks, he told Action News, "Probably about $120, $125. I've got bigger trucks too, that take probably $150- $160."

Even people you might not think would worry about gas prices would like to see this week's downward trend continue.

Steve Brown of Bala Cynwyd drives a Porsche, which might make some people envious. "They wouldn't be envious of the gas consumption," Brown said. He said he has to fill up with premium gas, which is already running $4.00 a gallon in many places.

AAA's Robinson says this week's dip can be attributed to decreased tensions with Iran, weak reports about the general economy and rumors that there may be buyers out there for two local refineries.

But she says there are other factors that could cancel those out.

"The fact that there's more demand during the spring and summer will help the prices up a little bit, as opposed to some of the other factors now that are moving factors down," she said. "So it's like a balancing act."

In the meantime, drivers like Patricia Penn of Strawberry Mansion are still trying to minimize their gas consumption.

"I try to plan everywhere I go, whatever section of the city that I'm in," she said. "'What do I need to take care of this week in that area?' so I don't have to re-track or go back. That helps save gas."

Analysts at AAA say it's too early to tell if this little downward trend is a sign of things to come. But they HAVE backed off of their previous prediction that prices would hit $4.25 a gallon this spring.

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gas prices, pennsylvania, new jersey, delaware, consumer news, amy buckman
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