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Drivers finding gas less expensive lately

By Seth Leonard
sleonard@salisburypost.com
One advantage to a stumbling economy is that, while money may be tighter, prices are typically lower for many goods and services.
Rowan County is in the middle of a gas renaissance of sorts, with this week’s prices near the bottom of the national scale.
A gallon of regular fuel cost $2.18 on Wednesday. Last July the average was closer to $4.
Even though the prices are relatively cheap around town, drivers continue to squeeze in to the Murphey Express station on South Arlington Street, near the Wal-Mart. The stations have a reputation for the lowest prices in town, but they are typically only found adjacent to Wal-Mart stores.
Brooke Crowe, who studies at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, said she came to Murphey Express on a recommendation from a friend.
“They have the cheapest gas in town,” she said. “I wouldn’t go out of my way just to come here.”
Other drivers said they just stop at Murphey Express after trips to Wal-Mart.
Crowe and others wouldn’t have to go out of their way to find falling prices right now. Gas prices at nearby stations on Innes Street, including Hess, Shell, Citgo and BP, had prices Wednesday evening matching or within a penny per gallon of the Murphey Express.
People aren’t just driving more thanks to cheaper fuel. They’re feeling better about what they drive, too.
“Last summer, a lot of people were trading SUVs in,” said Larry Gaither of Team Chevrolet. “Not this summer.”
Gas prices aren’t necessarily holding back car and truck sales this season. Gaither said that even the new Camaro SS is selling too fast to keep in stock. The Super Sport designation refers to the high-horsepower V-8 engine that makes the new Chevrolet a true muscle car, as well as a gas guzzler.
One man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was pleased with the lower gas prices, but was unhappy about the state of the petroleum industry. A longtime employee of oil companies, he said the industry seems to be virtually unchanged from his days.
He explained that means enormous amounts of natural gas are “flared off,” or essentially wasted during crude oil recovery.
According to AAA Carolinas, the average price per gallon of regular gas in Salisbury is $2.24 this week, down from $2.40 last week and $2.56 a month ago.
The national average for a gallon of regular gas was $2.50 on Wednesday, according to AAA’s Web site. The state average was $2.46 per gallon.

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