Nov. 16–You may have spied that an early gift has arrived for the holidays: Falling gasoline prices.
Behind the Wheel has certainly taken notice, especially as Thanksgiving travel looms large on the horizon.
Will the low prices continue?
Well, let’s take a look-see.
AAA Carolinas and other outlets reported the falling fuel prices earlier this month. AAA reported that prices had fallen 12 cents in North Carolina over the month. The news was even better for our neighbors to the south, where South Carolina saw a 15-cent decline in prices month-to-month.
The prices relate to a dramatic drop in oil prices, which have been a surprise to many analysts. The Trump administration’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer, led some to believe that prices would go up. Instead, the stock market’s early reaction to the announcement in May spiked prices but appeared to flame out pretty quickly over the summer, according to AAA.
“With the market anticipating and thus reacting to the impending Iran sanctions throughout the summer months, motorists likely have seen the worst in terms of retail prices for the year,” Tiffany Wright, a spokeswoman for AAA Carolinas, said in a news release. “If the crude oil market remains steady, gas prices are likely to continue to fall in the near future.”
That bodes well for the holiday travel season.
At the top of the week, gas-saving app Gas Buddy’s survey of more than 6,000 stations in North Carolina showed average prices for a gallon of regular gas at $2.57, a drop of 4.4 cents a gallon from the previous week. The national average is $2.67.
The average price in Fayetteville was $2.47 per gallon. According to Gas Buddy, the cheapest prices as of Thursday afternoon were $2.28 a gallon, available at the Family Fare at Raeford Road and Owen Drive; the Walmart at Strickland Bridge and Raeford roads; and B.J.’s price club on Glensford Drive.
Nationally, though the price-drop is great, we are still 24 cents higher than a year ago. But a wealth of oil supply means the prices could go still lower — barring some shakeup in crude oil prices.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving travel is expected to be robust, with 54 million Americans intending to hit the road, according to AAA. That’s an increase of 4.8 percent from 2017 and a 13-year high.
Driving in rain
Driving toward work on a gray, rainy Thursday morning, Behind the Wheel passed two accidents. In one, a sports utility vehicle had flipped and landed on its roof near the Skibo Road exit for the All American Freeway.
The other accident appeared to be a fender bender on eastbound Cliffdale Road, also near the All American. The wreck closed one lane, clogging rush-hour traffic.
Behind the Wheel does not know the circumstances of either wreck. But seeing them, and considering the bad weather, we were reminded of advice we received as a young lad from Papa Wheel. When it’s raining, he counseled, do not drive “normal” speed. Slow down.
Turns out the experts agree with Papa Wheel. State Farm insurance, at a web page that lists five tips for driving safely in the rain, notes that speed limit signs are designed for ideal conditions: “That’s hardly the environment you’re driving in when it’s raining. So, let up on the accelerator and allow more time to get to your destination.”
We can say that slowing down was not on the mind of many drivers on the All American speedway — er Freeway — on Thursday, despite the rain. Driving just below the speed limit, we found ourselves being passed like we were standing still.
We will say this: The first thing anyone realizes after an accident is that the stakes are unbelievably high, and ultimately the risks we take on the road are not even close to worth it.
Slow down, and as the public service announcements say, arrive alive.
Have a safe holiday, friends.
Columnist Myron B. Pitts can be reached at email@example.com or 910-486-3559.
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