Lower gas prices help dealerships, shoppers

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT)- Gas prices across the nation are lower than we have seen in years. According to the Energy Information Institute, in 2015, the average driver can anticipate spending about $45 a month at the pump. That’s a 20 % decrease in spending from last year, and amounts for an estimated $550 in savings on gas. Drivers say, they’re already feeling the difference–when it comes to the weigh of their wallets.

“I had switched to a Ford because gas prices were so high with a Volkswagen,” explains college student, Kyle Borland. “It’s definitely almost cut in half what I’m paying, so I’ve definitely noticed that I can do a lot more with my money.” Borland says he’s been able to enjoy more meals out, and it’s enabled him to do a little more Christmas shopping this year.

“Like my presents for my family are a little bit nicer, maybe,” Borland laughs. “Or maybe [the presents] just exist.”

Dealerships are also noticing the impact. Jeremy Pledger is the service manager at Tuscaloosa Hyundai. He says they’ve seen more people trading in their smaller cars for trucks, and other vehicles that people typically consider to be expensive gas guzzlers. “People call every day saying, hey, tell me about the truck that’s on this lot,” Pledger says. “We have salesman come to me and say, hey, when are we going to be finished with this car or truck, because I’ve got people asking to purchase it.”

Pledger has also worked on a lot of vehicles that are going to be carrying families ‘over the river and through the woods’ on holiday trips that the weren’t able to take in previous years. “This year as opposed to last year or the year before, there are a lot more people saying, we’re going to my aunt’s house or my grandmother’s house, who we wouldn’t have gone to see last year because they live 200 to 500 miles away.”

Even Pledger, himself, has noticed a difference in the money that he’s been putting into his personal vehicle. “I was filling up for probably $35 a gallon,” Pledger explains. “Over the summer it was probably closer to $40 depending on where I was buying gas. Now, I spent $23.58 or something like that on a tank of gas earlier this week.”


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