Gas prices drop 58 cents

Jackson County gasoline prices have dropped 58 cents, two months after recording the highest average gasoline price for the area.

On May 15, AAA of Oregon recorded the average price for a gallon of unleaded in Jackson County at $3.518 &

a record high for the region. On July 24, the association reported that the average for Jackson County is $2.934 per gallon, an average lower than was recorded a year ago at this time. Officials at AAA expect for the trend to continue and for prices at the pump to continue dropping.

"Although crude oil is still selling above $73 per barrel, gasoline prices should continue to fall," said Elliot Eki, public affairs director for AAA of Oregon. "In recent weeks, the wholesale price of gasoline plunged as much as 20 to 69 cents per gallon."

According to AAA of Oregon, there are several possible reasons for the drop in gas prices: Midwestern refineries are reopening after closing due to flooding in the area earlier this year; the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has released a statement assuring consumers that oil supplies are plentiful; a suggestion by the cartel's director has been released indicating that oil may be overpriced as much as $10 a barrel; and OPEC has no plans to raise output based on the fact that there are more suppliers than takers.

AAA reports that Oregon currently ranks 22nd lowest in the nation for average gas prices. Local station owners and managers still believe customers are disappointed in the cost of gas despite the drop in price and the national ranking.

"They are glad it's going down," said Ana Delfosse, owner of A Tech 76 on Ashland Street. "The price is still high. People aren't filling up anymore, they are budgeting by just getting a couple of dollars worth."

Lonnie Hollaway, manager at the Bi-Mor station on Siskiyou Boulevard, also noticed that customers are still unhappy with the price.

"There is still some griping," said Hollaway.

"I haven't really noticed it," said Mark Grabow, a four-year Ashland resident. "I noticed they were high a month ago. I think it's dropped."

California residents visiting Ashland notice the drop in price immediately after crossing the border.

"It's always cheaper in Ashland than it is in Mount Shasta," said Kate Cowsky of Mount Shasta, Calif. "Right now it is about $3.30-something down there."

Cowsky and her husband David have been visiting Ashland for over a decade to see their children and grandchildren. According to David, the drive from their home in Mount Shasta to Ashland takes about an hour and it has always been less expensive to fill up at an Ashland gas station.

Chris Higgans, visiting from Sacramento, said he also noticed the prices in Ashland.

"I noticed it was less expensive here," said Higgans. "I don't know why that is. We must have more taxes."

California currently has a statewide average price of $3.12 a gallon and Washington's average is $3.01, making Oregon the cheapest on the west coast with an average of $2.94.

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