Residents and students are experiencing declining gasoline prices in San Marcos as part of a state and national trend of lower oil costs.
San Marcos is averaging about $3.06 per gallon of regular gasoline, according to gasbuddy.com. The highest gas cost indicated on the price watch site for the San Marcos area is $3.15 at the Shell, Exxon and Valero stations on Aquarena Springs Drive.
Gas prices across the state were more than $3.37 per gallon during the summer, but did not rise higher than $3.47 per gallon from May to September, according to information from the AAA website. Gas prices across Texas have dropped recently because of the seasonal change, said Sarah Schimmer, AAA Texas spokesperson.
The gas supply across the nation switches from summer-grade to winter-grade fuel during the colder months, Schimmer said. This switch in fuel quality is done to reduce pollution and smog during the summer ozone season, which occurs from June 1 to Sept. 15.
“The summer gas is cleaner burning, but it costs more for the consumer, while the winter blend is cheaper to supply and produce,” Schimmer said.
Texas has the third least expensive gas in the nation, only behind Missouri and Oklahoma, according to gasbuddy.com. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for the website, said Texas generally has some of the lowest gas prices in the nation because of its oil production.
Since Texas is a large oil-producing state, gas has less distance to travel to reach the consumer, he said.
Texas’ reduced gas prices can be attributed to low fuel taxes as well, DeHaan said. The average gas tax for Texas is $.38 per gallon, while California and New York have an average gas tax of $.69 per gallon, he said.
Despite higher fuel taxes in some other states, national gas prices have dipped overall recently as well, contributing to reduced costs in Texas and San Marcos.
Schimmer and DeHaan said demand has directly affected the national gas price average.
“We see less and less demand after Labor Day because of everyone going back to school and such,” Schimmer said. “This inversely leads to a lower price for the consumer.”
The national average for regular gasoline was $3.27 on Oct. 29, slightly lower than the day and week before, according to AAA’s website.
“Nationwide, we’re paying $.30 less than this time last year,” Schimmer said. “It’s a good time to get out and enjoy Texas. Take advantage while you can.”
Mercedes Inocencio, physical geography senior, commutes from Buda every day to get to the university. She said she enjoys the recent trend of cheaper gas prices.
“I’ve definitely noticed the drop in gas prices,” Inocencio said. “When they were higher during the summer, it took almost $40 to $45 to fill up my tank and now that it’s dropped to around $3 a gallon, I can fill up on less than $30.”
Inocencio said she will enjoy the low gas prices while she can, because it is only a matter of time until the costs increase again. She said she does not agree with the ability of oil companies to dictate prices.
“It’s unfortunate, but no matter how high prices get, I’m going to still have to contribute to this business,” Inocencio said. “My entire life is dependent on it. It’s how I get to work and school.”
However, DeHaan said prices are expected to continue to decrease in the near future.
“Demand is pretty flat this time of the year—we have healthy numbers and our refinery output is looking good,” DeHaan said. “We’re expecting the future of gas prices to go down because crude oil has gone down to $97 a barrel, the lowest it’s been in years.”