The QV and Murphy’s Oil in Sumiton and the Jet Pep and Chevron in Dora changed their prices to $2.99 as early as Thursday afternoon. Most of Walker County hovered over $3 Friday.
The state average for Alabama on Friday was $3.13, according to AAA of Alabama’s spokesperson Clay Ingram.
“We’re kind of following the trend we’ve seen over the past few years, with big differences from city to city and even within some cities,” Ingram said.
The causes for the price discrepancy are unknown, but several things can play a role.
“It’s hard to say what the reason is,” Ingram said. “Some of it can come down to tax structure, some of it can come down to who they buy from and some of it comes down to who sets the prices for the station.”
Ingram explained that locally-owned stations and locally-owned chains set their own prices, while some national chains set their prices based on national averages.
All those things can account for small price discrepancies, but Ingram says the biggest reason for the difference is customers do not monitor local prices.
“We aren’t price shopping,” Ingram said. “We aren’t looking at prices on our local travels. We buy our gas at the same place. That’s where we go, because that’s where we go.”
Ingram said motorists have two major ways to combat high fuel prices — fuel conservation and price shopping.
“We do a good job of conserving fuel; now we have to do a better job of price shopping,” Ingram said. “We want them competing over our business.”
Ingram also said he believes the prices will decline even more during the summer and into the fall.
“We should be in line for some more drops in price,” Ingram said. “The prices have been unreasonable for some time. The supply has been really strong and the demand has been really low. That usually means low gas prices.”