Hardeep Gahunia, who owns U-Save Gasoline on North Hughes Avenue in Fresno, sold regular unleaded gas for $2.98 on Monday.
Gahunia said he only makes 4 or 5 cents per gallon of gas that he sells — around $300 a day — but lowering his prices by even 1 cent over nearby competitors drives more customers to his lot.
“It’s helping out the community, too,” he said. “If gas prices are low, people can afford to buy extra stuff.”
He’s not the only one. Several gas stations in Fresno are selling gas below $3 a gallon.
Are the good ol’ days here again, where drivers can celebrate all the extra money in their wallets now that gas prices are so low?
Gas prices are dropping — a lot — but the average price in Fresno and the Visalia-Tulare-Porterville area is still $3.30 for a gallon of unleaded. Don’t expect to see most stations selling below $3 anytime soon, says Cynthia Harris, AAA of Northern California spokeswoman.
The gas stations that are selling for $2.97 a gallon are outliers, she said. It’s not the norm.
“That’s only a temporary situation,” Harris says.
But that didn’t stop drivers from seeking out the sub-$3 prices Monday. Ashley Taylor, 23, of Fresno filled up at U-Save Gasoline on a whim. She was surprised the gas was so cheap.
“It was the cheapest on the corner,” she said. “Since I’ve been driving, I don’t think I’ve seen it this low.”
And even if the city’s average price never drops below $3 this winter, drivers are still enjoying comparatively low prices. A year ago, Fresno’s average price was $3.69.
Prices have been dropping for several weeks, pushed down by plummeting crude oil prices and an abundant supply of oil produced in the United States, Harris said. Consumption of gasoline is down as drivers have cut how much they drive and more fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars populate the roadways. California has already switched to the less-expensive wintertime blend of gasoline and there’s been no major storms or refinery problems that would push prices back up, she said.
“We’re going to continue to see prices fall,” Harris said. “They should stabilize at some point, but it’s wait and see.”
A gas station in Emeryville recently dropped its prices below $3, but bumped them back up again after a week, she said.
The last time Fresno’s monthly average price dropped below $3 a gallon was February of 2010 at $2.96 a gallon, according to AAA.
Will Fresno’s average price ever again fall below $3?
“That’s purely speculative,” she said. “We’re at $3.39 (statewide) right now. That would really be something if we got below $3. We haven’t seen that in many, many years.”
To find out who has the lowest prices in your neighborhood, you can also search for your city at AAA.com/gasprices.