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Danville tops, South Boston third best for cheap gas prices

SoVaNow.com / August 12, 2013
BY MARY BETH JACKSON
Danville Register & Bee
Reprinted with permission


Unemployment rates are up in Danville, and consumers everywhere are feeling the pinch of higher prices, but Danvillians are winning at the pump.

Gasbuddy.com reports Danville has the lowest average gas price in North America at $3.09 a gallon, in rankings of nearly 6,000 localities in the U.S. and Canada released by the site this week.

Competitive pressures are driving down prices in Danville and South Boston, where Arkansas-based Murphy Oil has recently opened two new stations. Murphy Express opened in Danville in July, following the opening of the Murphy Express in South Boston in late June. South Boston was in third behind Danville and Honea Path, S.C., for the cheapest gas.

(Editor’s note: in South Boston on Sunday, Murphy Express and Quality Plus, located next door to each other across from Wal-Mart, were selling regular unleaded for $2.98 per gallon.)

Friday afternoon, the lowest prices in Danville were well below $3 a gallon, with Murphy Express, Sam’s Club and the Quality Plus on Westover Drive pricing at $2.79 a gallon. That’s down from July 16, when Murphy Express and Quality Plus were at $2.96. By comparison, the national average was $3.57 per gallon, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge report.

Martha Meade, manager of public and governmental affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said local competition and the July 1 change in the gas tax structure are working in the favor of Danville consumers. In July, the gas tax burden shifted from consumers to wholesalers. The question had been: Would retailers pass on the savings from the elimination of the consumer gas tax?

“What we have seen so far is that it appears that the retailers are indeed passing that on,” Meade said.

AAA looked at profit margins for retailers. When the gas tax went down, crude oil prices spiked, creating smaller profit margins for retailers.

“If they were not passing the savings on, we would have seen it,” she said.

She added that gas might have been even cheaper, had it not been for the crude spike.

Gas prices have been trending downward throughout the nation, as well, Meade says.

She and AAA are advising area consumers to enjoy the trend as long as it lasts. While gas prices have been somewhat lower in the past several weeks, they could increase in the weeks to come with the potential for late-summer hurricanes and possible refinery problems.

These types of issues can disrupt production, distribution and gasoline supply at a time when many Americans are filling up their tanks for end of summer travel, according to AAA.

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Back up to around $3.09 most places in Danville that were as low as $2.82 a few days ago. Quality Plus/ Gas House on Franklin Turnpike still at $2.82 for 87 yesterday afternoon, and lines all the way out in the street.


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