BANGOR – Local drivers who paid around $4 a gallon for gasoline just a few months ago have become savvy in finding the cheapest prices around, and don’t plan to make any changes even though gas prices have dropped.
Some drivers filling up on Saturday at the Dead River Co. convenience store, which was one of two Main Street stores selling the petroleum product at $1.899 a gallon for regular, said they used the Internet to find the cheapest gas around.
Others keep track of local prices while driving around going to work or shopping, and another driver said she heard about the low-priced gas by word of mouth.
Seymour Burch of Stetson said it only makes sense to do a little research before leaving home.
“I looked on the Internet before I left and it said there were two or three stores here selling gas for under $2” a gallon, he said while pumping gas into his vehicle. “It’s really easy to do. You just punch in your ZIP code.”
Hampden residents Dave Melochick and Wes Williams said they both check prices while driving so they know where to go when they need to fill up.
Melochick said he has specific places he checks, which have what he considers high-quality gas at the cheapest prices around.
“I always check,” he said. “I checked prices this morning in Brewer and they [Dead River] were a little cheaper.”
He added, “I’m glad to see it drop.”
Williams said that with a 26-gallon tank that cost nearly $100 to fill when prices reached around $4 a gallon, it makes sense to know the prices. He “always” checks, he said.
Word of mouth is another way locals keep informed of where to buy cheaper gas.
“My dad told me this morning” that gas was $1.899 at Dead River, Maryann Smith of Bangor said while filling up. “I came down Broadway and it was still $1.96 [a gallon], so I decided to jaunt downtown.”
She said her V8 engine gets “horrible” gas mileage, so every cent counts.
“I put 20 bucks in and drive a couple of hours, then I put another 20 bucks in,” she said, adding the dropping prices have “definitely made a difference” to her pocketbook.
The average price of a gallon of regular in Maine was $1.93 on Sunday, according to www.mainegasprices.com. The national average price was $1.83 a gallon according to www.automotive.com.
Stephanie Shay, cashier at Dead River, said the Main Street convenience store is very competitive when it comes to gas prices.
“We try to make sure we’re cheaper” or equal to their competition, she said. “We’re a new store and we want our customers to come back.”
Nick Sargent of Orono, who works in Bangor, said he’s a regular at Dead River because the gas prices are always competitive. When gas prices were “unbelievable,” Sargent said he cut back severely on his driving.
“It got to the point, I was working two jobs, that I would stay in my car so I wouldn’t have to travel back and forth” during the three-hour break between jobs, he said.
Sargent wasn’t the only one cutting back on trips.
When gas prices were high this summer, Burch said he had to make changes.
“I have a P.O. box. It’s only four miles away and instead of checking it every day, I’d only go every other day,” he said. “Four dollars a gallon is hard on us. I’m retired. We definitely cut back on doing a lot.”
The newly lowered prices “make a big difference,” he said. “But, I’m still worried about the cost of heating fuel.”
The following is a list of some of the Web sites people can use to find the cheapest gas prices around where they live: gasprices.mapquest.com, www.mainegasprices.com and www.automotive.com/gas-prices.