LIMA — If someone at the gas station does a cartwheel and that person is not a local high school cheerleader, the reason may be the price on the board.
At some gas stations on the east side of town, gas was below $3 a gallon for the first time in what seemed like forever.
“I love it. I’m filling up,” said Minnie Phalen, of Lima. “I hope it will last for a while.”
Whether the prices last depends on a lot. For starters, the state average was $3.21 and gas prices on the west side of town were close to that, maybe a dime to nickel cheaper.
This is the time of year that, traditionally, has the cheapest prices, if you can call it that. Those who remember paying around $1.50 just a decade ago surely would not.
Refineries are switching to a winter gasoline blend and motorists are traveling less as winter approaches, lowering the demand and increasing supply, said Kimberly Schwind, a spokeswoman for AAA Ohio Auto Club.
Another factor that could come into play is a fire in the past few days at the Citgo Refinery near Chicago. The fire did some major damage that could elevate the price of gas, she said.
Whatever the reason now, it’s still welcome news for cash-strapped drivers.
Filling up her truck at the Marathon at Findlay Road and Sugar Street was Jamie Elrod. She also happens to own a used car lot, Mr. E’s Auto Sales, so she was taking the opportunity to fill all the vehicles.
“Just in case it goes back up,” she said.
She also will fill jugs for the lawn care business she owns, she said.
Marathon Manager Michelle Hale said the price dipped below $3 Wednesday and was at $2.96 Monday.
“We got slammed. We had cars piling up out there. That was Wednesday night. Thursday we were down at $2.99 so we got slammed all day and night,” Hale said.
Customers definitely are happy, she said.
“They are saying they would like it to stay down and go lower,” she said.
Hale, who has worked at Marathon for nine years in different positions, said she cannot remember the last time gas fell below $3 a gallon.
It was Dec. 21, 2010, for the state average. While it’s possible gas dipped below the $3 a gallon price at individual stations, the state average has not, she said.
“All we can do is look at averages,” she said.