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Just how low will fuel go?

Gas prices may keep dropping, but $1 a gallon unlikely

POSTED: December 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Thomas Quick prepares to fill up his truck with gas Monday afternoon at the Texaco on Ga. 53. Gas prices still are dropping, and some experts are saying the price could go below $1 a gallon.

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Rumors are circulating that gas prices will plummet as low as $1 per gallon, but AAA Auto Club South spokesman Gregg Laskoski doesn’t see that happening here.

"I don’t think we’re going to see that price in the eastern U.S.," Laskoski said. "Crude oil is actually going up."

The price of crude oil went up about $5.50 a barrel over the last week, but it will be a while before that translates to an increase at the pump.

"There’s still room ... for fuel prices to come down maybe another 10 or 15 cents a gallon between now and the end of January," Laskoski said.

The fate of fuel prices will likely be decided when OPEC meets Wednesday. OPEC, or Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, may decide to reduce oil production in all its member countries to help establish a price floor.

"The reason why that’s happening is because of statements from OPEC members indicating their intent to try to reduce production ... by about 2 million barrels a day," Laskoski said. "If they can get the members not only to agree but then to comply, we could see crude oil prices move higher."

Though $1 a gallon isn’t likely for Georgia, Laskoski said it could be possible in some areas.

"We may see a dollar a gallon only in some markets, like in the Midwest. I don’t think we’re going to see that price in the eastern U.S.," Laskoski said. "Too many other things would have to go wrong before fuel prices would reach that level."

With gas below $1.50 in many areas, Hall County residents wouldn’t be surprised if prices started to go up at the beginning of the year.

"I’m surprised it ever got below $2," said Thomas Quick, who was pumping gas Monday in Gainesville. "Nobody’s happy about it going back up. I’m expecting the first of the year it’ll be above $2 a gallon ... I keep waiting for a knife in the back."

Gloria McIntyre said she has heard the rumor that gas could dip below $1 a gallon, but isn’t sure what to believe.

"Nothing surprises me with gas anymore," McIntyre said. "It’d be nice."



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