Low gas prices mean more travel, more shopping

Dec 28, 2011

Low gas prices since Thanksgiving means Americans feel better about traveling this holiday season, and Wyoming has some of the lowest gas prices in the region.

Tara Handley is a spokesperson for AAA (“triple A”) Mountain West. She says 92 million Americans have decided to travel this holiday season, and often buy more gas and are willing to travel further than when prices are higher.  AAA Mountain West estimates the average cost for gas statewide today was $3.09. The company says people are more likely to buy more gas, and do extra traveling.
 That lines up with what Kelly King is seeing. He manages the Smoker Friendly Gasamat in Laramie. Regular unleaded gas there cost only two-seventy three today.

King says the Gasamat makes less money on gas when prices are low, but the low prices are bringing in more business.

“It pretty much evens out, basically. We’re … losing profit margin, but we’re gaining much more sales volume, gallons being sold, that kind of thing.”
 Kelly says the savings at the pump is also bringing customers into the convenience store, where people are buying more cigarettes and specialty tobacco than usual.

Tara Handley says motorists should keep costs in perspective.

"They are up about 19 cents in Wyoming from where they were on Dec. 29th last year, but they’re down 59 cents from the high that Wyoming saw, that was on May 25th, and that was $3.68 per gallon."

She says gas prices are tied to crude oil values, which are difficult to predict because they're influenced by social and environmental factors.