Gas prices sinking amid COVID variant’s arrival

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By WVUA 23 News Reporter Mackenzie Wanicka

As the COVID-19 omicron variant begins its spread, travel is once again decreasing. But it’s not all bad, because gas prices are shrinking, too.

There’s a lot that goes into gas prices, including when a station gets a shipment, which additives are added to the brand’s gas or location. Two stations situated across McFarland Boulevard, the Circle K and Murphy’s Express at the Hargrove Road intersection and Snow Hinton Park, are similarly sized but not always similarly priced.

Circle K customer Autumn Foster said she sticks with that station because the prices are good and the gas is high quality.

“I’m strictly with Circle K because a lot of gas stations have watered-down gas, which damages the cars,” Foster said.

Foster said at $3 a gallon, she can fill up her whole tank. When it was higher, she could only buy a half-tank at a time.

Customer Dominic Tamez said he’s grateful prices are going down because it means his budget isn’t quite as tight.

“I can spend my money on more than just gas, which is huge for everybody because we need groceries and other things for families,” said Tamez said.

Higher gas prices mean drivers on a budget can’t always get where they need to go, or a harrowing game of fill-up chicken.

“I commute to Vestavia Hills every day from Tuscaloosa, so I’ve been spending at least $160 a week before it came down,” said Murphy’s Express customer Tavia Stanford. “It was getting to a point where I’m like, ‘should I just wait to fill up?’ ”

Cheaper fillups mean Stanford has a little extra cash to treat herself, she said.

According to gas watchdog Gas Buddy, prices in Alabama fell 5.1 cents over the past week, to an average of $3.02 a gallon as of Monday. Prices are nearly 15 cents cheaper than last month but remain $1.13 higher than at this time last year.

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