Lower gas prices giving all budgets hope | NevadaAppeal.com

Lower gas prices giving all budgets hope

by F.T. Norton
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealHerman Lowe, of Carson City, fills up at Eagle Mini Mart on Tuesday afternoon, where gas prices were under the $2 mark.

Capitol Cab driver Bob Dunnett said lower gas prices are a welcome relief.

“We’re paying now probably about half of what we were three or four months ago,” he said. “It just killed you because if you had a really slow day, after paying out what you owe, you could come home with very little.”

Last week oil prices hit levels not seen in more than three years and retail gasoline prices are now below $2 across nearly half of the country, including Carson City.

Benchmark crude fell as low as $48.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, levels last seen on May 18, 2005, when oil hit $46.80 a barrel.

The national average for self-serve regular gasoline is $2.07 per gallon, 88 cents less than a month ago and $1.03 less than a year ago, according to AAA.

In Carson City, Costco offered regular unleaded gasoline for $1.87 a gallon The Quick Stop at Hot Springs Road and Roop Street had gasoline for $1.89.

Keith Wells, division administrator of the state motor pool, said any business, be it government or private industry, had to spend more money on gasoline than they’d projected in their budgets.

“Every agency basically is in the same situation. No one anticipated fuel to go up, no one anticipated it to go down even,” he said. “If you had a vehicle that you moved, you went over your budget. No one could forecast as high as it went.”

Records indicate that Nov. 16, 2007, the state motor pool paid $3.16 a gallon for gasoline. On Nov. 16 of this year, the average fuel price was $2.16 a gallon.

Wells said with every 50 cent change in fuel costs, the state spends or saves $15,000 for the 31,000 gallons of fuel the motor pool uses each month.

This month’s fuel cost is $30,000 less than this time last year.

“This is a blessing to the state’s budget. It has an absolutely positive impact to our budget,” he said.

Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said that he budgeted $109,000 last year for fuel and exceeded that budget by $59,000.

This year he budgeted $135,700 for fuel. Projections indicate by year’s end the Sheriff’s Department will have again exceeded the estimate.

“At the current cost of fuel, we estimate we will still be 20 percent over our budget. I attribute that to the high costs we’ve already paid. It has consumed an enormous piece of our budget,” he said.

“I’m very relieved prices are going down. The city is very, very tight with money right now, and last year we moved money around to stay afloat. That becomes difficult if you continue to do that year after year.”

– Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

On the Web

To check the lowest gas prices in the area visit http://www.gasbuddy.com