Gas prices fall in Kent, across the nation

Trevor Ivan

Jestine Hercules, an University of Akron freshman nursing major, fills her gas tank yesterday afternoon at the Clark gas station. For the first time in months, gasoline prices have fallen under $2. Photos by Elizabeth Myers | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

The price for a gallon of gas has dropped to about the $2 mark at many gas stations in and around Kent.

The decrease follows a national trend. CNN reported Sunday that the average price of gas across the nation is $2.18 per gallon, which is a 14 cent drop in the last two weeks.

Bevi Powell, the director of communications for AAA’s East Central Division, said the price of oil has dropped to about $50 per barrel in the past few weeks.

The price of oil is one of the biggest influences on the price of gas, Powell said. The price per barrel reached $78 last summer, which caused gas prices to spike to near $3 per gallon.

Powell said several factors caused the price of oil to drop.

“We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter throughout the East Coast (of the United States) and throughout much of Europe,” she said. “Oil inventories are greater because there is less demand for heating oil.”

Powell said other factors contributing to the price spike last summer were the threat of an active hurricane season and the conflict in Lebanon. When those things ended, the demand went down.

Customers filling their tanks at local gas stations found the recent drop in prices to be a pleasant surprise.

Aaron Smith, of Canton, said he’d like to see the price go as low as it can as he filled his tank at the Rich gas station on Main Street, where the price was $1.99 per gallon.

Barry Anderson, who was also filling up at Rich yesterday, said he drives from Pennsylvania to Kent each week to visit his girlfriend who attends Kent State. He said he is pleased with the drop in prices.

Justin Vela, senior integrated health studies major, filled his tank yesterday at the Clark station on Water Street, where the price was also $1.99 per gallon. He said the drop in price will help ease his budget constraints.

“I drive from Akron to Kent every day, so I put a lot of miles on my car,” Vela said. “It’s nice to fill up at a lower price, especially after Christmas when you’re tight for money.”

Powell said consumers should enjoy the lower gas prices while they last because they may rise again during the spring and summer months.

“Refineries typically close during the spring for routine maintenance, which will drive up the demand,” she said. “Also, people will be driving more during those months, which also affects demand.”

Contact public affairs reporter Trevor Ivan at [email protected].