HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Gas prices nationally have fallen below $4 a gallon for the first time since March, meaning drivers are feeling a slight bit of relief. Experts warn, however, it’s not time to stop fuel saving quite yet.
News 19 spoke to multiple drivers to learn how they were feeling on the road. Two of those drivers are retirees Cris and Linda Purviance.
“This is the time to do the traveling,” Cris said.
The Purviances are from Arizona. They have been waiting and watching gas prices, finding the least expensive time to make the trip to Alabama to visit their grandchildren.
“We have to judge on a budget so it makes it hard,” Linda said. “To really enjoy retirement, it really takes a lot of our leisure time of what we want to do, because it takes the money out of our retirement to enjoy ourselves,” Cris added.
They say they don’t know how long prices will stay low. Just coming to Alabama from Arizona, they estimate they spent $300-$400 in gas alone. They’re not the only ones who say the record-high prices this year have forced them to make some changes.
“I have two teenage sons and we have just really cut down on the activities we do now,” driver Courtney Owens said.
Owens is hopeful fuel costs will continue to drop, but she’s not banking on it.
“I’m very leery of the lower gas prices right now,” she said.
AAA Alabama’s Clay Ingram says drivers are correct to keep their guards up.
“We’re victims to what the market price happens to be and that’s determined on a global basis,” he said.
The ongoing war in Ukraine creating a shift in the European oil market is just one factor contributing to the uncertainty.
“It could change prices dramatically with very little warning,” Ingram said.
Weather also plays a role, winter is coming which will likely bring change to the cost of crude oil. Right now, it’s hurricane season.
“We’ve got a big chunk of our national oil and gas infrastructure along the gulf coast, so having hurricanes come up through the gulf of Mexico has been a problem for us for a long time,” Ingram said. “We’ve had it happen before and it’s always temporary but it’s something we have to be aware of.”
Ingram said as tempting as it is to stop saving up to cover skyrocketing prices at the pump, to ignore that impulse and continue being a conservative gas user because things could change in an instant.
He said right now, there are things people can do at the pump to help pull gas prices down even further.
The first move is to price shop. Ingram said by always choosing to purchase gas at the least expensive station near you, will keep the market competitive and stations will be forced to keep their prices lower to get your business.
The second thing, he said is to work on staying off the roads when you can. Keeping overall demand low will keep the market from expanding.
The most important thing he recommends to conserve gas while on the roads is to be a less aggressive driver. He said people behind the wheel will be shocked to learn how much gas can be conserved just by using a lighter foot on the pedal and brakes.