Gas price drop affects consumers, companies Consumers buying more trucks, SUVS

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Jan. 2, 2015

Matt Bratten of West Bend opens the door to a Toyata Tundra V8 iForce on the Russ Darrow Toyota lot Wednesday afternoon in West Bend. General Manager Danny Shutts said with the lower gas prices, trucks like the Tundra have increased in sales.
John Ehlke/Daily News

As gas prices continue to drop in Washington County, car dealerships and transport companies are seeing the benefits.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration Short-Term Energy Outlook, U.S. weekly regular gasoline retail prices, driven largely by falling crude oil prices, averaged $2.78 per gallon Dec. 1. The forecast retail gasoline prices for 2015 are 35 cents a gallon lower than November’s Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The average price for regular gas is $2.19 in West Bend, Germantown, Richfield and Kewaskum. Gas prices for regular gas range from $2.09 to $2.17 in Hartford and the average regular gas price in Jackson and Slinger is $2.17, according to

Declining gas prices have affected sales at local car dealerships.

“The bigger SUVs are selling better than they did,” Russ Darrow Toyota of West Bend General Manager Danny Shutts said.

He also said customers are trading in their smaller cars for bigger SUVs and trucks.

“People have downsized and now they realized they need the room,” Shutts said adding customers also want to pull boats or trailers and need a bigger car.

While declining gas prices helped the sale of SUVs at Russ Darrow Toyota of West Bend, Shutts said it hurt the sale of hybrid cars. He said hybrid cars sell better when gas prices are higher.

Mark Pentler, general manager of Uptown Motors in Slinger, said SUVs and trucks are getting better fuel economy, but customers are still being conservative.

“They know it’s not forever,” Pentler said, adding customers aren’t making a knee-jerk reaction.

“In ’08 and ’09 it went the opposite direction,” Pentler said. “People are prepared for that.”

In October, the Daily News reported regular gasoline dropped below $3 for the first time since December 2010.

Diesel fuel prices are also declining. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, ultra low sulfur diesel was $3.88 in July and is down to $3.41 in December.

Vinnie Diorio, president of Rollin Transport and Logistics in Richfield, said diesel prices have gone down dramatically.

“It’s been little by little,” Diorio said.

Rollin Transport and Logistics specializes in hauling machines and equipment. Rollin Transport and Logistics hauls to 48 states.

“It makes our margins a whole lot better,” Diorio said. It’s easier to make a profit.”

Diorio said the company hasn’t sat down and figured out its savings, but said there’s definitely a change.