THURSDAY UPDATE: Since our Wednesday afternoon report, many Cincinnati area gas stations have jumped back up to $2.35 a gallon, with Speedway leading the way as usual. However, you will still find some stations below $2 a gallon, especially on the east side of the Tri-State.
May is typically the month when Cincinnati-area gas prices hit their highest level of the year, especially during the two weeks before Memorial Day.
So you can be forgiven for blinking twice if you see a gas station near you advertising gasoline below $2 a gallon, in a few cases well below.
Drivers in Milford, Loveland, Goshen, and Batavia got a springtime surprise this week, as the price of gas plunged as low as $1.89 a gallon.
Laurie Chase told us that when she saw $1.89 at the Marathon on Route 28 in Milford, she decided on the spot, "I'm stopping in and filling up!"
At the nearby Kroger, drivers who qualified for $1 off a gallon (with their Kroger Fuel Points) were filling up for the very 1980s price of 89 cents per gallon.
Even in Fairfield, Hamilton, and West Chester, prices have tumbled to the $1.97 range, the lowest price since mid- January.
One diver with a full size pickup said, "to fill my truck up it now takes just $50, instead of $80.
Why the springtime price drop?
We have become accustomed to low gas prices in recent years, especially in January and February, when demand is down and people aren't driving that much.
But this is highly unusual during the month of May, the start of summer driving season.
AAA a says there are three reasons for this unexpected windfall for drivers:
- Southwest Ohio is no longer required to switch to an expensive summer blend, which raised prices by about 25 cents every May for the past decade.
- Refineries are running at full output right now.
- Oil prices are down 13 percent this spring, though they are up about 3 percent this week (which could make this price drop temporary).
However, AAA warns prices this year could buck the trend and rise after Memorial Day, once summer driving gets into full gear and demand soars.
Steve Dalton agrees, saying he doubts this will last.
"I'm getting tired of the up and down gouging of the people," Dalton said. He was topping off his tank, because he expects these prices to be gone at anytime.
"Get your gas while its cheap, if you don't you're going to pay the price tomorrow," he said.
As always, don't waste your money.
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