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Tanked: Gas prices extremely low in Valdosta, lowest since 2009

Sally Poppe, right, demonstrates filling her car at the hydrogen fuel station on Oct. 21, 2014 at Hydrogen Frontier Inc. in Burbank, Calif., owned by her husband Dan Poppe, left. Automakers are turning to another new technology - hydrogen fuel cells that have zero emissions. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Written by Julie Jernigan, Staff Writer

You’ve probably heard that gas prices have, well…tanked.

The last time gas prices were this low was in 2009, and many VSU students were just starting high school.  According to GasBuddy, on Sunday, Valdosta’s lowest price was $1.64, which is up seven cents from last week, but all stations are still under two dollars. Georgia’s average gas price on Sunday was $1.75, and the average national price was $1.79 according to the American Automobile Association.

The cause for the recent drop in prices is as simple as supply and demand. The U.S. used to purchase oil from the Middle East, but now the Asian markets are selling their oil cheaper. Now, the Middle East and the Asian markets are competing with each other to maintain the lowest price, yet the demand for it is down. Today’s vehicles are more energy efficient or rely solely on electricity, and now Americans don’t see the need to buy any. With everyone thinking more environmentally friendly, other forms of transportation like Über have become a popular way to cut out air pollution.

“Gas is something we still need, so even if the prices rise or drop, people are still going to buy it, but do I appreciate it? Yes,” said Joanna Henderson, a psychology major.

“As a person who goes home a lot, I think it’s great, because now I have this extra money that I can put toward something greater,” said Martina Strickland, accounting major.

But with anything good, there is always the bad. According the New York Times, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron have already had to make huge payroll cuts in order to save, while other small companies are having to lower dividends. NY Times also reports that forty companies have gone into bankruptcy protection.

Another problem to worry about is further air pollution, as everyone is buying and using more than usual. If this price plunge is sticking around for a while, then less people are buying energy efficient cars and putting less effort into energy conservation technology.

In a Denver Post story on the plummeted gas prices, senior GasBuddy petroleum analyst, Patrick DeHaan, said that this change is definitely a temporary one.

“Refiners have already begun some winter maintenance, and while supply of winter gasoline is abnormally high, once that inventory is liquidated, I fully expect gasoline prices to march higher,” said DeHaan.

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