CHICO – Gas prices show signs of decline, much to the relief of Butte County residents.
GasBuddy price analyst Patrick De Haan predicted that consumers would see a drop in gas prices over the next few weeks.
GasBuddy is a platform that collects crowdsourced data from volunteer gas price monitors and station owners to help consumers find the cheapest gas price locally. The site reports that Chico’s has seen the price of gas per gallon drop by an average of about 17 cents within the past two weeks.
De Haan said oil prices were trending downwards due to the economic slowdown and concerns about falling consumer demand.
Chico resident Dave Nielsen said he used to drive from Auroville to Chico more than three times a week and it didn’t make a withdrawal unlike anything in his bank account. He said that because of this he left his job in Auroville.
Another Chico resident, Daniel Solers, said gas prices impressed him greatly.
“I understand that gas prices are a complex topic that is not caused by a president or a single source, and gas prices need to go up with appropriate carbon emissions taxes,” Solers said. “Still, for me personally it affects me a lot because I’m in the lowest socioeconomic bracket.”
De Haan said gas station owners and managers are not to blame for the recent surge in gas prices.
He said that the station owners are middlemen who are buying and reselling the products. Like consumers, stations benefit when the price of oil is cheap.
The profit margin for retail sales of gasoline is often very low. The real advantage for station managers is in the sale of convenience stores attached to the stations. No station owner wants to lose business by raising gas prices, so many wait for other stations to raise their prices before making any changes themselves.
“It’s like waiting to refinance your home when prices are at their lowest,” De Haan said. “You don’t know what mortgage rates are going to be next week. So at some point, you just have to make a move.”
Local Chevron manager Jordan Murray said he has not been able to change his station’s gas prices. Owners also have little control over what gas prices are. The price of a gasoline barrel set by wholesale oil companies determines how much station owners can sell their gas for.