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Hartselle's Cowboys service station is selling a gallon of gasoline for $1.99.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Hartselle's Cowboys service station is selling a gallon of gasoline for $1.99.

Gas prices at area stations falling below $2 per gallon

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

The cost of a gallon of gasoline in the Decatur area hasn't made it to the dollar menu, and likely won't, local storeowners say.

But, for the first time in more than a year, gas prices have fallen below $2 per gallon and will probably stay at this level through spring break.

"We didn't need much heating oil because of a mild winter, and that boosted gasoline production," said Mike Peebles, who owns Cowboys of Hartselle.

Wednesday morning, Peebles dropped the price of regular gasoline at his store on Alabama 36 to $1.99 per gallon.

Peebles said he expects gas to fall as low as $1.80 per gallon by March.

"We haven't seen these kind of prices in a couple of years," he said.

FuelEzy on Alabama 24 between Decatur and Trinity was selling regular for $1.99 on Wednesday, as was Carl's Foodmart at Johnston Street and Sixth Avenue Southeast.

U.S. oil prices slipped below $51 a barrel Wednesday, building on downward momentum from comments by Saudi Arabia's oil minister that further OPEC productions cuts were not needed right away. Prices rallied later in the day to close at about $52.

Forecasts of ample stocks added to the downward pull, with U.S. inventory figures, to be released Thursday, expected to show increases across the board — crude, gasoline and distillates, such as diesel and heating oil.

Light sweet crude futures for February delivery fell 79 cents to $50.42 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by afternoon in Europe. The Tuesday settlement at $51.21 was the lowest since May 26, 2005.

February Brent crude on London's ICE futures exchange slipped 81 cents to $50.81 a barrel.

Analyst Victor Shum with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore said that the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries first needed to follow through on reductions they have already announced.

"OPEC will need to stick to their previously announced plan of cuts to prevent prices from falling further," Shum said, projecting "a lot of volatility in the market."

OPEC has committed to a total cut in output of 1.7 million barrels per day, including a 500,000 barrel-a-day reduction set to begin Feb. 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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