The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

January 1, 2013

Good news at the pump

Gas drops below $3 in Ottumwa for first time since December 2010

OTTUMWA — The drop to $2.99 gas in Ottumwa didn’t cause long lines of consumers looking to save a nickel, but it did make some people’s day.

“I’m hoping it’s a sign of things to come for our economy,” said Jerry Miller, who was filling up both his pickup truck and his family’s SUV.

He picked the right day to do it. Gas dropped below $3 in Ottumwa early Monday. The last time Iowa showed an average gas price below $3, reports GasBuddy.com, was more than two years ago.

Miller didn’t stop because of the price, he said. He stopped because they needed to get gas. But the lower price was a nice bonus.

“I was shocked,” he said.

A few motorists who spoke with the Courier Monday said they weren’t surprised by the drop, but none stopped because they saw the price, which, despite breaking a “barrier,” was really only a five-cent decrease.

“I had to get gas anyway, but it was a nice surprise,” said Kirsten Younger of Ottumwa. “I paid $3.05 yesterday.”

So why does she need gas again if she filled up the day before?

“Filled up? I can’t remember the last time I filled up,” she said as she pumped gas into her SUV.

She doesn’t know how much it would cost to fill the tank, but $25 doesn’t quite get her to half a tank. But putting $25 in gave her more gas than it gave her a week or two ago.

“You save 50 cents on every $10,” she said. “Every little bit helps.”

In a way, celebrating gas at less than $3 a gallon seems like a bit of a stretch. As recently as 2005, gas was consistently a buck and change. But in a world where every price seems to go in only one direction, said driver Rachel Gidion of Ottumwa, we can’t be blamed for finding a little joy in seeing the $3 barrier broken — even if it’s only temporary.

“I’m glad for anything that is a reduction,” Gidion said. “[However] I can also remember when I was in high school — a gallon was 32 cents.”

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