Area gas prices falling sharply

Posted Oct. 07, 2008, at 11:01 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:18 a.m.

HERMON, Maine — The customers at the Country Market had some things to say Tuesday afternoon to shift supervisor, Marie Francis, about her gas prices.

At $3.19 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, for once those things were good.

“At least we’re getting some relief somewhere,” Francis said. “Everything else is so high.”

The independently owned Country Market had the lowest prices in the Bangor area Tuesday morning, according to the Web site mainegasprices.com.

Motorists in Newport saw something even more surprising Tuesday — gasoline at less than $3 a gallon.

In Newport, two stations — an Irving and a Valero — were selling regular gas for $2.99 a gallon.

Bargain-seeking motorists know that Newport has the cheapest gas around, thanks to one station owner who offers cut-rate prices to give his customers a break.

It has been months since gas has been that low, but prices have been falling in tandem with the decline in crude oil prices. According to AAA, the last time gas averaged less than $3 a gallon in Maine was on Nov. 2, 2007, when it went for $2.99.

The price of light, sweet crude hit an eight-month low on Monday, trading at $87.81 a barrel. In February, the last time oil was this low, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Maine was $3.02, according to mainegasprices.com.

Oil prices have fallen almost 40 percent since reaching a record of $147.27 a barrel on July 11.

Nationally, gasoline reached its record average price of $4.11 on July 17.

Although oil prices rebounded slightly Tuesday, hovering near $89 a barrel, industry analysts said oil likely would continue its downward trend given the stresses on the global economy.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.48, according to AAA. That’s two pennies a gallon less than Monday’s average price, and almost 20 cents less than the average price one month ago.

Bangor gas stations dropped their prices Tuesday afternoon to keep up with the competition.

When Arnold Hill came to work at the Waterfront Convenience store Tuesday morning, gas cost $3.29 a gallon. By late afternoon, it was down to $3.19.

“It’s going down, little by little,” he said. “Now, will it stay down?”

In Hermon, business at the Country Market seemed slow but steady on Tuesday, and Francis said she expected things would pick up once word got out that the numbers on the pump had come down yet again. After the store and its cheaper gas prices were featured recently on one of the TV news channels, customers were lined up on U.S. Route 2, she said.

For customer Chad Leonard of Hermon, the slide in gas prices has been a welcome relief.

“It’s nice to see the price come down,” he said. “Let’s hope it keeps coming down.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

acurtis@bangordailynews.net

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