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Gas prices lowest in 20 years

by Merrie Leininger

While nationally, gas prices have reached an all time low, Carson Valley pump prices remain a low-cost island in the midst of a sea of high prices in Northern Nevada.

Manager of the Gardnerville AM-PM Mini-Market, Steve McIntyre, said the station, owned by Roger Falcke of Genoa, set regular unleaded prices at 91 cents a gallon over the weekend.

McIntyre said the station has set its prices so low mostly because the service station is the new kid on the block and is trying to keep competitive.

However, the Valley’s gas stations wouldn’t be able to keep the prices so without low national oil prices.

“Crude oil is the lowest in 20 years,” McIntyre said. “Demand in winter is usually lower and there is a lot of oil on the market right now.”

Peter Krueger, state executive of the Nevada Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, said there’s a large surplus because Middle Eastern countries have dumped a lot of oil recently.

“Basically, there’s a glut, there’s so much of it out there. Every now and then, you hear they (Middle Eastern oil producers) are going to get together and restrict the output, but it never happens,” Krueger said.

n Bottomed out. McIntyre said he believes the price of oil has bottomed out after dropping for months, but the gas prices may stay low.

“I do think gas will continue to go down. Gas producers have it and need to sell it. Refineries need to run at 100 percent to make money. If they are running at 100 percent and have a surplus, they need to lower the price to sell gas. If they are running at 100 percent and the supply is dwindling, they will raise it,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre said 91 cents a gallon is the lowest he has seen in his 12 years in the business.

“Taking inflation as a factor, gas prices today are the lowest ever. In the 60s, I was paying 33-34 cents a gallon and back then, minimum wage was $1.50 an hour. Now it is $5.75, and gas is less than a dollar a gallon,” he explained.

Krueger agreed that the price of gas has not risen at the same rate as other necessities.

“We’ve always said in the industry there are some interesting numbers when you compare the price of gas to other commodities. Compared to a gallon of milk, it’s really cheap – it’s even cheaper than bottled water,” Krueger said.

An attendant at the Carson Valley Market said he would not discuss how gas prices are set.

Elizabeth Morrison, manager of the Minden Beacon station, which is owned by Dave Mills of Woodfords, said prices are set by the Beacon company.

“They compare the price to the area and set the price. We try to stay under Carson City and sometimes we can do that because of the gas tax,” Morrison said.

Carson City and Washoe County have a gas tax that helps them pay for road maintenance.

n Gas tax. Krueger said Nevada’s gas prices start with a basic 23-cent state tax and each county usually has an additional 5 cents county tax.

“After that, counties such as Washoe and Clark have a county option 5-cent tax. Voters overrode the decision a number of years ago in Douglas County,” Kruger said.

Krueger said the extra nickel goes into the regional transportation fund for local road repair and construction.

South Lake Tahoe gas prices are higher because of more regulations and taxes on their gas, Krueger said.

California’s basic state tax is 24 cents, plus 7 cents county tax.

Stations at the Lake and in Carson City and Reno didn’t compare favorably to Carson Valley gas prices Monday afternoon.

Carson Valley stations – Beacon Gasoline: $.93, $1.11 and $1.21.

Carson Valley Market: $1.05, $1.15 and $1.25.

AM-PM Minden: $.91, $1.03 and $1.13.

Exxon Pacific Mart: $.96, $1.13 and $1.23.

Shell Auto Service Center: $1.07, $1.18 and $1.26.

Chevron Winner’s Corner: $1.03, $1.13 and $1.23.

AM-PM Gardnerville: .$91, $1.03 and $1.13.

Reno and Carson City stations – Chevron Galena Market at 19990 Thomas Creek Road in Reno: $1.14, $1.26. $1.36.

Arco Truck-Auto Stop at 2500 E. 4th St. in Reno: $.99, $1.19 and $1.29.

Bob’s Texaco Service at 705 N.Carson St. in Carson City: $1.09, $1.19 and $1.29.

South Lake Tahoe stations – Al’s Chevron Way at Highway 50 and Ski Run in South Lake Tahoe: $1.26 regular, $1.36 plus and $1.46 super.

Round Hill Shell in Zephyr Cove: $1.19, $1.32 and $1.41.

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