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York gas price average drops below $2

David Weissman

While snow accumulated near record highs this weekend in York County, gas prices were reaching eight-year lows.

Regular unleaded gas is $1.89 a gallon at the York Fuel Stop on W. Market Street, West Manchester Township, Monday January 25, 2016. The county wide average is now less than $2 a gallon.  (John A. Pavoncello - The York Dispatch)

The average price for regular gas in the county dipped below $2 per gallon on Friday for the first time since 2008, according to GasBuddy.com statistics. The average still sat at $1.99 per gallon as of Monday afternoon.

The price is slightly lower than Pennsylvania's average of $2.02 per gallon, but significantly higher than the national average of $1.82 per gallon.

Jeff Pelton, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said the weekend storm should actually keep prices down because businesses are weary of being accused of price gauging, which was rampant in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

While stations may have some trouble getting gas and oil shipments due to hazardous road conditions, the amount of people staying off the road should cancel out any potential shortage, he said.

Winterstown resident Jess McPherson said the lower prices have helped ease a lot of financial strain that had come with commuting every day to Baltimore for work.

"It was sometimes difficult for me to make a living (due to high gas prices)," McPherson said, recalling high prices in 2012.

While prices in York are now below $2 per gallon in most places, McPherson said she still tries to fill up her tank on her way back from work in Maryland, where average prices are $1.87, according to GasBuddy.

York Township resident Jeff Smith said he started noticing lower fuel prices this past summer, when he was using his boat.

Smith said his boat gets about 2 miles per gallon, so gas prices impact him during the summer more, though he does commute to Mechanicsburg for work.

"It's wonderful, you got to love it," Smith said of the lower prices. "Hopefully, it continues."

Pelton said experts expect the price drop to continue with crude oil prices currently hovering around $30 per barrel. Pelton predicted York County residents could expect to see some stations reach as low as $1.75 per gallon around Valentine's Day.

The current low in the county is $1.89 per gallon at both York Fuel Stop in West York and BJ's in West Manchester Township. The current high is $2.39 per gallon at Hakes in Dover.

Pelton said he could never figure out why some gas stations kept their prices much higher than surrounding stations, but he theorized that those locations typically make a majority of their profits through non-fuel products.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com.