NAPLES — The early morning call from the Petro Tollgate Shell’s owner made Ken Powers smile: He told Powers he could lower prices at the pump.
"Finally," Powers, the gas station's manager, said. "The (gas) prices are starting to go down."
On Monday morning, the gas prices didn't just go down, they dropped 10 cents per gallon. The Shell station at the intersection of Collier and Davis boulevards cash prices changed from $3.99 for to $3.89 and credit prices from $4.09 to $3.99, both for regular unleaded gas.
At a range of 3.99 per gallon to 3.72, according to GasBuddy.com, these prices are the lowest yet this year. And the average price of gas in Florida as of Monday — $3.80 — is less than it was at the same time last year, when it was $3.86.
"Crude oil is trading in a narrow range, $102 to $105 a barrel over the last three or four weeks" Greg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, said. "Which means there's relative stability. I don't see anything to push the price out of that range, unless it's something to push it to the lower side."
Overall, for every 10 cents crude oil prices either increase or decrease, it translates to a 25-cent increase or decrease at the pump, Laskoski said.
Unless a war breaks out in the Middle East or countries like China, which ranks below the United States in oil consumption, or developing countries like Brazil and India, boost their infrastructure development, gas prices shouldn't spike. So a price of $5 a gallon in the summer, or high prices over Memorial Day weekend, shouldn't be feared.
Laskoski called such a belief an urban myth.
"It's misleading to say I know what will happen to gas prices this summer," Loskoski added. "But, right now, I'm seeing good indicators suggesting fuel prices will continue to incrementally decline over the next couple weeks."
Nationally the gas prices dropped 4 cents per gallon and in Naples the average is 9 cents per gallon.
Since the prices changed, Powers said, business is improving.
"Usually people would complain about the prices and come in and get $20 worth or enough to get them where they're going," he said.
"But today they're getting a little more. And it's picking up sales inside (the convenience store)."