Drivers gobbling up lower gas prices
Cost sinks to 7-year low

By KEN MERRILL - Daily News

Nov. 25, 2015


Jim Holzhauer of West Bend gets back into his car after fueling up Tuesday afternoon at the Clark gas station on Washington Street in West Bend.
Photo by John Ehlke

Here’s something to be thankful for: Gas prices at a seven-year low mean a welcome holiday bonus in the wallets of Washington County drivers.

Unleaded regular gas was selling for $1.95-1.97 a gallon Tuesday in West Bend, according to, a fuel-tracking website. Prices were lower in Germantown, with several stations at $1.85, and in Hartford, with one station at $1.87 and several others at $1.89. That’s the lowest gas has been since December 2008, when prices dipped to about $1.60 a gallon.

In a survey of more than 100,000 drivers, GasBuddy found that 30 percent of travelers will hit the road today for Thanksgiving. Twenty-five percent will travel on Thanksgiving — an 11 percent decrease from 2014.

AAA said more than 977,000 Wisconsinites will travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s a 0.6 percent increase from 2014 and the seventh straight year of growth for Thanksgiving travel.

“One holiday gift has come early this year in the form of low gas prices,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs, AAA Wisconsin. “Americans are especially thankful for what will likely be the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. These pump prices are helping to boost disposable income, making a Thanksgiving road trip more affordable.”



Janay Ebert, a Mad Max team member behind the counter at the Clark Station at 1512 W. Washington St., said she didn’t remember the last time gas dipped below $2 a gallon.

“I said the sign looks so funny to see $1,” Ebert said.

But have lower prices increased business?

“It’s been about the same,” Ebert said. “Well, (during the) deer hunting (opener) we were a lot busier, and Thursday before deer hunting we were under two bucks.”

Jerry Dawson of West Bend guessed that it’s been 10 years since prices were this low.

“I’m an old guy,” Dawson said. “I remember 19 cents a gallon.

“I was living in Illinois — Peoria,” he said. “I had a big old car and $2 would last me all week.”


A vehicle pulls up to a pump at the Mobil gas station on S. Main Street Tuesday afternoon in West Bend.
Photo by John Ehlke

The price dipped to the $1.60-a-gallon range seven years ago after a tumultuous summer. Gasoline prices climbed above $4 a gallon when crude oil prices reached nearly $150 per barrel.

By the end of the year, oil prices collapsed to about $30 a gallon and prices at the pump followed.

Most experts acknowledge the low prices at the end of 2008 were an overcorrection, and prices rose as the cost of a barrel of crude recovered.

More recently, crude is about $40 a barrel, down from $100 a year ago.


Chris Lee of West Bend watches the pump as he fuels up his car the Clark gas station Tuesday afternoon in West Bend. Lee will not be traveling for the holidays this weekend but does plan to travel to go hunting.
Photo by John Ehlke

Gas prices peaked in Wisconsin at about $4.20 a gallon in the spring of 2011. Prices bounced around in the $3-$4 range through the middle of 2014, then fell to nearly $2 early this year before climbing again throughout the summer.

“Low oil prices and surplus supplies should either keep gas prices at their current levels or push them lower throughout the holiday season,” Jarmusz said. “Gas prices typically decline in November and December, and that trend should continue this year, unless oil prices rise unexpectedly.”

Reach news editor Ken Merrill at