Drivers entering the AMPM shop at the Arco gas station on Lander Avenue on Tuesday were probably spending more on their bottle of soda than a gallon of gas as the well traversed station was the only one in town to boast unleaded gas at $1.99.
The station was congested as many drivers pulled in simply to take advantage of the low price, like Austin Harding.
“I haven’t seen it this low since I started driving,” said Harding, who was passing through town.
While gas prices have been slinking lower across the country in recent months, according to Arco co-owner AJ Singh it has been roughly a decade since prices have dipped so low in Turlock. While each owner has the power to set the price at their gas stations based on the market, Singh is the only one to go below the $2 mark, something of a principle for Arco AMPM gas stations.
“We want to serve the community,” said Singh. “They appreciate us and we appreciate them.”
And the drivers are not only happy, they’re surprised.
“I looked and saw $1.99 and I can’t remember the last time I saw it that low. It was years ago,” said Livingston resident Robert Hernandez.
“I am getting superstitious,” he laughed. “I’m getting stressed waiting for it to go up again.”
Unleaded gas across town on Tuesday was still low overall with the Arco AMPM at the intersection of Olive Avenue and Golden State Boulevard at $2.03, the same price as Costco on Tegner Road and the East Avenue Shell Station. Geer Road Beacon and Quick Stop stations maintained their prices at the higher end of the scale with unleaded gas costing $2.19 and $2.15, respectively.
The national average was $2.12 as of Jan. 20 and rates “continue to test lows not seen since May 2009,” according to AAA Northern California.
While Singh said that the Lander Avenue station has always been well trafficked, with the decline in gas prices more people are traveling and in turn filling up their tanks more often.
“I’m driving a gas hog so it makes me feel a lot better,” said Tony Turner, who filled up at the Lander Avenue Arco AMPM before heading to the Bay Area.
Singh attributes the decline in prices to basic supply and demand, though he did say it is indicative of a global shift. While countries like India and Brazil were using a lot of gas in recent years driving up demand, their decline in consumption in recent months has in turn made gas cheaper worldwide he said.
“At least that’s what the pundits are saying,” said Singh.
According to AAA, since mid-2014 the global price of crude has lost more than half of its value.