The Valero on Shaw near campus’ gas prices on Jan. 20, 2015. Darlene Wendels / The Collegian.Fresno State student Arazeli Garzon has a lot to smile about these days.
For $32, she fills up her car — a full tank lasts her two weeks. She takes more road trips and has had more money to spend on other expenses.
It’s one of the benefits of the decline in gas prices.
“Before, I used to fill up my car with $55,” said Garzon, who takes a 20-minute commute to school from her home in northwest Fresno. “It has made a huge difference for me… That’s about 80 bucks a month I’m saving up.”
Garzon is just one of many Fresno State commuters benefiting from the dip in gas prices.
Since last year, the average gas price in the Fresno area dropped from $3.56 to $2.49 per gallon, according to the AAA. Some gas stations in the area are selling gas as low as $2.24 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.
Although the decline in gas prices has made a noticeable impact on consumers, Fresno State economy professor Dr. Sasan Fayazmanesh said there are still underlying questions to ask.
“Obviously, students, like many other consumers of gas in this country, would have more disposable income,” Fayazmanesh said. “The issue is what happens to this surplus income? How would it be spent? Would any of it be saved?”
Fayazmanesh said he poses those questions to his students. The steep decline in gas prices is due to a “severe decline in the price of crude oil,” he said, adding that it’s not clear whether or not oil prices will continue to decline.
However, Fayazmanesh adds that the price drop is due to Saudi Arabia’s decision to flood the market with oil for economic and political reasons.
“Economically, the low oil prices could drive out some of the competitors of the Saudi oil, such as the oil producers in the U.S., particularly those that are involved in the production of shale oil,” he said.
“Politically, Saudi Arabia is waging a battle against countries that it does not particularly like, such as Iran, Venezuela and Russia. The falling oil prices have severely affected the economies of these countries.”
Many students are experiencing gas prices this low for the first time in their lives.
”We used to pay $4 for gas a couple of years ago and now almost below $2, so it’s pretty nice,” said Joshua Neri, a Fresno State student.
Neri, who commutes to campus from Sanger, said lower gas prices means more money in his pocket.
“I usually try to come once in the morning for my classes and stay throughout the day so I don’t have to go back and forth — It can take a toll,” he said.